“Our relevant authorities seized two North Koreans past Nov. 2 who crossed the border on the sea near the NLL (Northern Limit Line) in the East Sea and conducted a joint investigation. As a result, (they) figured out that they are men in their 20s and killed 16 crew members on a squid-catching boat that was operating in the East Sea and fled,” Sang-min said.
South Korea delivered its intention to deport the men to North Korea on November 5 through the Inter-Korean Liaison Office, and the next day the North confirmed its intention to take them over.
South Korea judged they were not eligible for the North Korean Refugees Act due to a serious nonpolitical crime such as murder and that they pose a threat to the lives and safety of people if they were admitted to South Korea.
“Heinous criminals cannot be recognized as refugees under the international law. (The government), following consultation with government departments, decided to deport them,” Sang-min added.
South Korean news agency Yonhap, reports that according to officials, the North Koreans confessed they killed the captain of the squid boat in late October “out of anger over his harsh treatment before killing the other protesting crew members one by one later.” And Yonhap reports that all their bodies were dumped overboard, according to officials.