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Chinese captain gets 30 years for murder of Korean Coast Guard
Publication Date : 20-04-2012
The captain of an illegal Chinese fishing boat was sentenced to 30 years in prison and fined 20 million won (about US$18,000) on Thursday for murdering a Korean Coast Guard.
Incheon District Court handed down the sentence on Cheng Dawei, 43, after he was indicted on charges of murdering the officer during a raid on his boat last year.
The captain killed Korean Coast Guard sergeant Lee Cheong-ho and seriously wounded another officer with a knife on December 12 during a raid on Chinese boats illegally fishing in Korean waters off Incheon. Nine others including another captain attempted to block officers from conducting the raid on their two boats during the same incident.
The others involved were handed sentences of between 18 months and five years, and fined between 10 million won and 20 million won each.
“Because the defendants’ actions caused an officer to lose his life, and others were severely injured, the incident caused public shock, sadness and outrage, especially among the victim’s family,” the court said.
“It is inevitable that they receive a harsh sentence in order to prevent future instances of illegal fishing or other negative consequences.”
In an earlier sentencing on April 4, prosecutors demanded capital punishment for Cheng. They also demanded two to three-year prison sentences for the nine other Chinese sailors, in addition to a 20 million won fine for each.
“It is inevitable that Cheng will receive a harsh sentence considering that the murder was premeditated, the family of the deceased is asking for harsh punishment and he is unwilling to offer any form of compensation to the family,” said a prosecutor during the April 4 ruling.
Lee was the second KCG officer killed by Chinese operating illegally in South Korean waters. The first was slain in September 2008 when a Chinese fisherman hit the officer on the head with a shovel.
Chinese ships have become increasingly bold in expanding their fishing areas in Korean waters.
Earlier this year Seoul and Beijing agreed to continue to seek negotiations on setting a clear maritime boundary in apparent efforts to address the issue. Seoul received a letter from Beijing that it would implement stricter supervision and stronger punishment for its fishing boats caught illegally operating in South Korean waters.