All 29 crew from three Chinese trawlers captured and held in North Korea for almost two weeks on charges of illegal fishing have been released, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported yesterday.
A Chinese official, Jiang Yaxian from the PRC embassy in Pyongyang, told Xinhua that the news had been passed on by the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and added that it represents the result of close cooperation and discussion between the two countries.
According to Jiang, the 29 crew and captains are in "sound health condition with sufficient food and healthcare," and “some of the detained vessels and crews have already been sent back to China."
The three boats were taken from what China claims were international waters on May 8th. The North Korean captors initially demanded a ransom of more than $65,000 per boat and threatened to execute the crews and keep the boats if the money was not paid. It is unclear whether any money eventually changed hands to secure their release.
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