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Seoul deports two men to North Korea for murdering 16 fishermen

Seoul deports two men to North Korea for murdering 16 fishermen”

Having been discovered in the stretch of water also known as the Sea of Japan, they were then brought in for questioning.

During investigation, the North Koreans confessed that they and another crew member first killed the captain of the fishing boat in October out of anger over his harsh treatment before killing the other protesting crewmembers one by one later, according to officials.

Ministry spokesman Lee Sang-min said South Korea made a decision to expel the two fishermen to North Korea because they were "heinous criminals" who could not be recognised as refugees under global laws.

"We also assessed that if they were accepted into our society, they would pose danger to our people's lives and safety as vicious criminals who can not be recognised as refugees under global law". You can sign up to receive it directly here.

A ministry official said it will send the 17-ton squid fishing boat that carried the North Korean crew to the North on Friday.

Lee said the two were sent back through the Koreas' land border.

More than 30,000 North Koreans have escaped from the reclusive state to the South since the two were separated by war more than 65 years ago, according to government data - many driven by prolonged economic hardship.

The joint investigation revealed that three people, including the two who were returned to North Korea, conspired to kill the captain and killed 15 fellow crew members to cover up the crime while they were fishing for squid in Russian waters.

They were chased by a South Korean navy ship which fired warning shots at them. It says this amounts to a declaration of confrontation with the North.

Kim said that the two fugitives evaded the South Korean navy in the East Sea for two days after first crossing into the South.

"South Korean authorities jointly surveyed two North Koreans who crossed the inter-Korean maritime border on November 2nd".

North Korean defectors are a sore point in relations between the two Koreas, with the North often claiming its citizens are held against their will in the South.



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