The shooting may have been in retaliation for an incident in July when Chinese fishing vessels rammed a North Korean patrol boat in the Yalu River
North Korean patrol boat recently fired live rounds at a Chinese boat illegally fishing in North Korean waters, leading to multiple deaths, Daily NK has learned.
“On Aug. 11, a North Korean patrol boat opened fire on a Chinese boat that was fishing illegally in North Korean waters,” a China-based source told Daily NK on Friday. “Three Chinese fishermen were killed in the incident.”
According to the source, who requested anonymity for security reasons, the Chinese boats were fishing illegally in coastal waters off the North Korean west coast, near Haeju and Ongjin County in South Hwanghae Province.
Chinese vessels usually work in groups, and on this occasion there were around 10 boats fishing together when one was followed by the North Korean patrol and fired upon.
Three of the Chinese fishermen on board were reportedly killed on the spot.
“Up until last year, North Korean patrol boats had never gone beyond making threats so they could receive bribes,” the source said. “In the past, they would fire warning shots which, of course, could hit the other boats. This time, however, they fired directly at the fishermen and killed them.”
The source believed there is a high likelihood the shooting was retaliation for an incident in July when Chinese fishing vessels rammed a North Korean patrol boat in the Yalu River delta.
The Chinese vessel that received the barrage of shots was towed away by other ships in the fleet, and Chinese authorities have reportedly been trying to ensure news of the incident does not leak.