Chinese pirates are said to often enter the Yellow Sea of North Korea, kill North Korean fishermen, and even extort fishing boats.
In 2009, a Chinese pirate was shot and killed by a North Korean soldier and this strained relations between the two allies for a while.
Kang Seong-hyeon (pseudonym), a North Korean defector who used to run an overseas trading business in the Yellow Sea and came to South Korea two years ago, told the Seoul-based North Korea Reform Broadcast that Chinese pirates are active in the Yellow Sea. This was the first report in South Korea on North Korean soldiers being killed by Chinese pirates intruding North Korea`s territorial waters. The defector‚Äôs in-depth interview is scheduled to be broadcast. The radio channel is dedicated to the North Korean people and run by former defectors in the South.
Kang said, ‚ÄúChinese pirates most frequently appear in waters in front of the Cheolsan peninsula of North Pyongan Province. They kill fishermen, take fishing boats and run away. Those pirates can easily be armed because weapons are illegally traded for several hundred dollars in China.”
Chinese pirates hijack fishing boats because the vessels are Chinese products and pirates can resell them in China for large sums of money. North Korean fishermen can go to China and buy second-hand 80 hp fishing boats for 30,000 U.S. dollars and those with 54 hp for 15,000 dollars. Chinese pirates are known to resell the stolen ships to people in other countries or even to North Koreans.
North Korea is unable to overpower the pirates no matter how rampant the latter are. The Stalinist country`s patrol boats are too old to catch the boats of Chinese pirates, which are usually five-ton vessels with double engines.