Coast Guard fires some 200 shots to scare off Chinese

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Coast Guard fires some 200 shots to scare off Chinese

MOKPO, South Jeolla - The Coast Guard fired around 200 gunshots to chase off dozens of Chinese boats illegally fishing in South Korean waters off the west coast earlier this week, officials said Wednesday.

The incident happened Tuesday morning, when 44 Chinese fishing boats violated South Korea’s exclusive economic zone 53 nautical miles off the southwest island of Gageo, officials said.

The Coast Guard first broadcast warnings ordering them to leave, but began firing warning shots from around 9:15 a.m. as the Chinese boats charged toward a patrol boat, officials said.

Despite the warning shots, the Chinese boats didn’t leave. The Coast Guard then mobilized four patrol boats, including a 3,000-ton vessel, to fire a total of about 200 shots with K2 rifles, M-60 machine guns and shotguns, officials said.

The Chinese boats left the area around 2:43 a.m., some five hours after the first warning shots were fired.

It was unclear how much, if any, damage the Chinese boats suffered, but there is no damage to the Coast Guard, officials said.

Illegal fishing by Chinese boats off the west coast has been a long-running headache for South Korea. Chinese fishermen have often used violence to resist crackdowns, leading to clashes resulting in wounds, injuries and sometimes death.

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