Vietnamese crew murdered South Korean captain over verbal abuse

By Anh Ngoc   July 6, 2016 | 03:54 am PT
Vietnamese crew murdered South Korean captain over verbal abuse
South Korea-registered deep-sea fishing vessel named Kwang Hyun 803. Photo by Yonhap News.
A sailor from the South Korean fishing vessel said a bad relationship and the language barrier were the reasons for the bloody mutiny.

Two Vietnamese fishermen killed the captain and chief engineer of a South Korean fishing vessel named Kwang Hyun 803 over a dispute on June 20, 2016 about 1,300km east of Somalia.

A 50-year-old South Korean sailor, identified by his surname Lee, said in an interview with Yonhap that there had been an argument between Captain Yang and the two Vietnamese fishermen on the night of June 19. The sailor said the relationship between the two suspects and Yang had been strained due to the captain's frequent outbursts and the language barrier.

After drinking some liquor, the two Vietnamese suspects (both aged 32 years) stabbed Yang to death with a knife while he was alone in the cockpit. They then reportedly went to the bedroom below and murdered chief engineer Kang while he was at the wheel.

Lee almost became the next target but martial arts skills helped him to subdue the suspects.

"After subdueing the two Vietnamese crewmen, I asked them why they killed the captain and the chief engineer, those two only replied: ‘no good'," he said. "The relationship between them was not good; I think they lost control because of the liquor.”

According to Lee, the two Vietnamese suspects were hard workers and the tragedy might not have happened if Yang had been more reasonable. He said the culture on offshore fishing vessels needs to change to prevent such unfortunate incidents from recurring.

"Foreign and South Korean crew members should learn simple phrases and respect each other's cultures and personalities," he said. "If things had remained friendly, this tragedy would not have happened."

Autopsy results showed that Yang and Kang were stabbed 23 times in total. The two are believed to have died from internal injuries and blood loss, the Korea Times quoted the South Korean coast guard as saying.

At the hearing on July 1, the two Vietnamese suspects said they were angry at the abuse the two victims had given them. One suspect has a previous conviction for a violent offense in Vietnam. He has confessed to the murder charges while the remaining suspect denies the accusation.

The Korea Coast Guard is continuing to clarify the motive for the murder while looking for possible accomplices.

Related news:

> South Korea arrests Vietnamese fishermen over double homicide at sea

Vietnamese crewmen held over killing of S.Korea ship captain, engineer

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