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Russian investigators to question suspected North Korean poachers onboard vessels

The consul general of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea will be present during the checks

VLADIVOSTOK, September 20. /TASS/. An investigation against North Korean fishermen, who attacked Russian border guards in the Sea of Japan, will be carried out onboard the vessels and in the presence of the DPRK’s consul general, the Federal Security Service’s Border Service for the Primorye Region told TASS.

"They [vessels with North Korean citizens] will be at the [port’s] roadstead. The consul general and representatives of the investigative department should probably visit them. [All investigative activities and checks] should be carried out onboard the vessels," a spokesman said.

The convoy arrived at the port of Nakhodka earlier on Friday with a serious delay while on the way from the place of detention in the Sea of Japan. The delay had been caused by bad weather conditions and low speed of some North Korean ships.

A local source told TASS though that only two North Korean vessels had arrived in Nakhodka, whereas the location of 11 motorboats, that had also been reported during the detention, was unknown yet. "There are only two big vessels anchored. No motorboats, that were previously mentioned, can be seen. They could have been hauled off somewhere. Investigators are working on the site,"the source pointed out.

The FSB Border Service for the Primorsky Region told TASS that the vessels would remain anchored, and there were no plans to take the detained foreigners ashore.

The shooting incident

According to the FSB, on Tuesday Russian border guards spotted two North Korean vessels and 11 motorboats poaching in Russia’s exclusive economic zone near Yamato Bank in the Sea of Japan. The crew of one of the vessels staged an armed attack on the Russian border guards, injuring four of them. One of the guards sustained gunshot wounds. The FSB claimed the border guards’ life was not in danger.

A total of 161 North Korean citizens were detained, some of them were injured and received medical treatment.

The Russian Investigative Committee reported a criminal case had been launched into the attack on Russian border guards under Section 317 of the Russian Criminal Code ("Encroachment on the life of a law enforcement officer").