Guam – China’s Xinhua news agency is reporting that 25 detained Chinese fishermen will go home next week after an out of court settlement was reached between the Palauan Government and China.
The fishermen will be released on Wednesday and, according to the report, the fishermen “conceded the misdemeanor of unlawful entry and the settlement involved a compensation payment to Palau.”
Xinhua quotes Chinese Consular official Wen Zhencai as saying “The Chinese central and provincial governments are planning to dispatch (a plane) and we will be staying on until all Chinese nationals have been returned.”
The 25 Chinese fishermen have been held in Palau since March 31st after one of their crews was killed by Palau marine officials who claimed it was an accident.
The fishermen were arrested during an operation by Palauan police to intercept their fishing vessel which Palau says was illegally fishing in Palauan territorial waters. 1 fisherman died after being shot by Palaun Police during an attempt to stop the fishing vessel.
In addition, 2 Palauan police officers and the American pilot of plane they were aboard are all believed to have died after the Cessna was forced to ditch in the Pacific off Palau when it ran out of fuel. They had flown to the scene in an effort to film the fishing vessel which had been set on fire.
Assistant Palauan Attorney General Timothy McGillicuddy filed a criminal complaint against at least 5 of the fishermen on charges of “unlawful entry”; “illegal fishing”; and “conspiracy to commit unlawful acts”.