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Japan deports stranded North Korean boat crew February 09,2018   |  Source: Gulf Today/Agence France-Presse

Eight North Koreans rescued from a boat adrift near an island in northern Japan last year were deported home via China on Friday, an immigration official told AFP.

The eight men were part of a group of 10 North Korean “fishermen” spotted aboard a tiny wooden boat struggling in bad weather last November.

They are to return to North Korea from a Hokkaido airport via Beijing, a spokeswoman for the Sapporo Regional Immigration Bureau told AFP.

Two other crew members remain in Japan, one of them in hospital with tuberculosis and the other, the boat’s 45-year-old skipper, facing charges of theft, she added.

The captain was arrested and indicted last year for stealing a power generator from a local fishery cooperatives facility on the island, part of Hokkaido — the northernmost of Japan’s four main islands.

According to the indictment, the captain took the lead in stealing some 40 items ranging from home appliances to solar panels worth 5.65 million yen ($45,000), public broadcaster NHK said, adding that he will stand trial in a Japanese court.

Dozens of North Korean fishing vessels have washed up on Japan’s coast in recent years, with the number hitting a record 104 in 2017, up from 66 the previous year, according to the Japanese coastguard.



© Dar Al Khaleej

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