South Korea deported two North Koreans on Thursday November 7th after finding they had killed 16 crew members on their fishing boat before fleeing to the South across the sea border over the weekend, AFP reported.
The two North Koreans, both in their 20s, were questioned by South Korean authorities after being found on Saturday aboard a boat near the maritime border in the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, according to Seoul's Unification Ministry.
The ministry spokesman Lee Sang-min told reporters that the two men were deported to the North via the truce village of Panmunjom on Thursday after informing Pyongyang of their planned deportations.
He said South Korea had decided to send the two fishermen back to North Korea because they allegedly committed "grave" crimes and could not be protected by the South Korean government. "If they had been incorporated into our society, it was judged they would pose a threat to the lives and safety of the people," Lee added.
Details of the killing or the boat's whereabouts are not immediately known.
More than 30,000 North Koreans have fled their reclusive state to the South since the two were separated by war more than 65 years ago, according to government data.
South Korea has a policy of accepting North Koreans who want to resettle in the South to avoid political oppressions and economic poverty in their own country.