The latest clash took place in waters near the western port city of Incheon on Nov. 27, when Chinese sailors aboard three vessels fought against Korean maritime police officers, hurling fishing gears and wielding steel pipes at them, Incheon Coast Guard officials said.
Four officers sustained minor injuries in the clash with the fishermen, according to officials. The Korean authorities seized the 30-ton Chinese fishing boats in Incheon and took 24 sailors under custody, they noted.
"It is unprecedented that as many as 24 out of 32 sailors were arrested at one time," a Coast Guard officer said. "We will sternly punish sailors who threaten officers with weapons in the future."
Chinese fishing boats are frequently caught fishing in South Korean waters, sometimes leading to deaths of maritime police or sailors during violent confrontations.