North Korean fishermen suspected of killing 16 of their crew members

North Korean flags on flagpoles in Pyongyang North Korea

South Korea repatriated on Thursday two fishermen who South Korea said killed 16 colleagues before crossing the maritime border into South Korean waters last week.

South Korea has returned two fishermen to North Korea after they found out they had killed their colleagues.

Investigators say the two accepted the allegations, and the third suspect was arrested in North Korea. Lee Sang-min, the ministry of the spokesperson said that South Korea has taken the decision to expel the two fishermen to North Korea because they were criminals who could not be recognized as refugees under worldwide laws.

The fishing boat left the North Korean port of Kimchaek on August 15 with a crew of 19, officials say. While fishing in waters near Russian Federation and elsewhere, the two men collaborated with another crew member and killed the captain, who they said had abused them. Then the trio killed 15 other men to cover up the whole incident.

The three went back to Kimchaek port with the intention of moving to another region of North Korea.

But as a surge of inter-Korean diplomacy unfolded a year ago, numerous 33,000 refugees from North Korea in the South say they feel like political pawns suddenly discarded.

About 32,000 North Koreans acquire fled to the South since the slay of the Korean Battle, majority through China and in the previous Twenty years. It sends a signal to other North Korean escapees that South Korea no longer welcomes them.


North Korean defector recalls starvation before escaping to the U.S.

Observers whisper the males are inclined to receive heavy punishment in North Korea - at the side of probably execution.

"The two defectors should be handled under the South Korean legal system". 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. Defectors are given the option to stay in the country and start a new life.

About 32,000 North Koreans have fled to the South since the end of the Korean War, majority via China and in the past two decades.

A senior North Korean official said on Wednesday that the announcement was equivalent to a "declaration for confrontation" that could jeopardize the diplomatic process, AFP reports.

In recent years, the number of North Koreans coming to the South has slowed.

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