South Korea opens fire at illegal Chinese fishing vessels

A South Korean Cast Guard crew fired the ship’s M60 machine gun at a Chinese fishing vessel which was attempting to flee as it was caught fishing illegally in the South Korean exclusive economic zone.

As reported by the South Korean news agency Yonhap, two Chinese fishing vessels were caught in illegal activities off the western port city of Incheon.

According to the report, no fishermen were injured as the Coast Guard crew pointed the gun in the sky after the fishing vessels failed to respond to orders to stop.

This is the first incident in which the South Korean Coast Guard has used live-fire munition against intruders. After Chinese fishing vessels sank a Korean Coast Guard patrol boat in October this year, South Korean officials said that the Coast Guard would shoot at vessels caught fishing illegally in the South Korean EEZ.

Two large fishing ships (over 100 tons) deliberately crashed into the patrol boat and managed to escape. One South Korean officer had to be pulled from the water following the incident while no other injuries were reported.

Illegal activities of Chinese fishing vessels caused incidents in the region more than once in the past. They were involved in a number of incidents in 2016 alone. A Chinese vessel was shot at by the Argentinian Navy and sank in Argentinian waters in March this year. In the same month, a Chinese warship intervened to free a fishing boat detained by the Indonesian Navy. Three months later, in June, Chinese fishing boats were shot at by several Indonesian navy vessels in the southwest of the South China Sea.