The captain of a Chinese fishing vessel was killed on Friday in a fight with South Korean coast guard officers who stopped his ship for suspected illegal activities, officials said.
A South Korean guardsman shot the man in the stomach with a handgun after he violently resisted inspections in the waters off South Korea’s western coast, said coast guard official Kim Hye-gyeong.
The 45-year-old Chinese national was airlifted to the Mokpo Hankook hospital and pronounced dead about 30 minutes later, officials said.
The deadly fight occurred as a dozen South Korean coast guard officers boarded the Chinese ship for searches in South Korea’s exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 nautical miles (370km) from shore. When other Chinese fishing ships pulled nearby and sent their crew members aboard the ship being inspected, the Chinese captain began resisting more violently, which led to his shooting death, according to South Korean coast guard officer Cho Nam-yong.
It was not immediately known whether there were other injuries.
Chinese fishing boats have been going farther afield to feed growing domestic demand for seafood as catches have decreased in waters close to their own shores. South Korea’s coast seized about 220 Chinese ships in 2013 for illegal fishing in the Yellow Sea.
In 2011 a South Korean coast guard officer was killed in a clash with Chinese fishermen in South Korean waters.