Russia has detained 161 North Korean fishermen for fishing illegally in the Sea of Japan, the FSB security service said in a statement on Wednesday.
The arrests came a day after the FSB said three Russian coastguards were injured in a clash with one of the North Korean boats, which it accused of carrying out an ‘armed attack’ on them.
Coastal patrols, planes and special forces were used to detain two schooners and 11 motorboats that carried the North Koreans, the FSB said.
The North Koreans, some of whom were injured, were taken to Russia's far eastern port of Nakhodka, it added.
‘Banned fishing gear and illegally obtained marine biological resources were discovered and seized,’ the statement said.
Moscow on Tuesday summoned the North Korean charge d'affaires over the incident, expressing ‘serious concern.’
‘We demanded the Korean side to take exhaustive measures with the goal of preventing such incidents in the future,’ the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
Russian coastguards in the Far East frequently detain North Korean fishermen, many of whom use rudimentary wooden boats. Some receive prison sentences.
There are frequent disputes over fishing rights in the Sea of Japan, which is surrounded by Japan, Russia and both North and South Korea.
In July, North Korea released a Russian fishing boat with a crew of 15 Russians and two South Koreans after it was detained for violating entry regulations.
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