Just over a dozen fishermen who were severely beaten by Republic of Korea (ROK) coast guard officers in January this year are preparing to seek justice in a ROK court, one of the fishermen said Friday.
A court on the ROK's Jeju Island attended to the fishermen's complaints on April 20 and will hear their case sometime between May 25 and June 29, said Yan Keqing, the ownwer of a ship that was forcibly boarded by ROK coast guard officers on Jan. 17 in the ROK's exclusive economic zone.
Captain Wang Xiaofu said the officers boarded the ship without warning and brutally attacked him and the ship's 12 crew members, who hail from east China's Zhejiang Province.
Five of the fishermen were badly hurt in the incident, with three slipping into a coma on the spot, Wang said.
The fishermen were kept in custody by the coast guard and were only freed from Jeju Island on Jan. 25 after Yan paid a bond of 80 million ROK won (72,000 U.S. dollars).
The fishermen returned to Zhejiang on Jan. 27.
Yan hired a Beijing-based law firm in March to lodge a lawsuit in the Jeju Island court against the ROK coast guard.
"Their violence was a breach of international law and represents a severe infringement on our basic human rights," Yan said.
"I hope the ROK coast guard will treat Chinese fishermen fairly and avoid exacerbating incident relating to fishing, " he added.