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Japan seizes, then releases two Chinese fishing boats

Date Posted: 2011-08-12

Japanís Coast Guard has seized a pair of Chinese fishing boats and their captains after the trawlers were spotted fishing inside Japanís exclusive economic waters, but then quickly released them with a warning.

The incident occurred in the Sea of Japan off the northern coast of Ishikawa Prefecture. Each of the two fishing trawlers, the Lurongyu 1735 and the Lurongyu 1736 was carrying 17 Chinese crew members. Japanese officials say the two boat captains ignored Coast Guard orders to stop for an inspection, instead trying to run and escape.

The captains, 35-year-old Zheng Wenwu and 26-year-old Wang Fugui are in Japanese custody. The two captains, according to a report by the Global Times and Chinese officials, were sent back to their trawlers by the Japan Coast Guard at around 4:30 pm local time Saturday, after negotiations between the consulate and the Japanese side.

The incident brought memories of last Septemberís clash between Japan Coast Guard patrol vessels and a Chinese fishing trawler. That captain was arrested after he crashed his fishing boat into the two Japanese patrol boats. He was later released following a diplomatic clash between China and Japan.

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