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Russian court sentences North Korean fisherman to 4 years in prison

A court in the city of Nakhodka in the Russian Far East found a North Korean fisherman guilty of assaulting at least three Russian officers. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
A court in the city of Nakhodka in the Russian Far East found a North Korean fisherman guilty of assaulting at least three Russian officers. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

July 8 (UPI) -- A Russian court sentenced a North Korean fisherman to four years in prison for assaulting Russian border guards at sea.

A court in the city of Nakhodka in the Russian Far East recently found the North Korean national guilty of assaulting at least three Russian officers with a wooden baton, Radio Free Asia's Korean service reported Wednesday.

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Two other North Korean defendants charged with resorting to violence against Russian authorities are to go on trial in September, according to Tass news agency.

"Three of the defendants struck the troops with sticks in various parts of the ship, using violence harmful to life and health," the prosecutor's office in the Primorye region said, the Moscow Times reported.

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Last September, Russian authorities said North Korean fishermen on two large ships, and others on board 11 smaller fishing vessels, clashed with Russian guards who confronted the boats at Quito-Yamato Bank, which Russia claims as part of its territorial waters.

A North Korean fisherman died in Russian custody following clashes, and about half a dozen fishermen showed various degrees of injury after resisting arrest, according to the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation at the time.

Russian border authorities cracked down on the boats, citing Article 318 of the Russian criminal code, which bans the use of violence against an officer, according to RFA.

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No Russian border guards were killed during the incident at sea in September, but officers sustained injuries.

Lee Sin-wook, a South Korean expert on Russian affairs at Dong-A University, told RFA Russia was imposing relatively light penalties out of consideration for North Korea-Russia relations.

Kim Jong Un met with Russia's Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok for the first time in 2019. The two sides have since agreed to strengthen ties.

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