Senkakus Chinese skipper indicted

Kyodo

A Chinese trawler skipper who collided with two coast guard cutters in 2010 was indicted Thursday in absentia, based on a decision by a citizens’ judicial panel.

Zhan Qixiong, 42, was indicted by court-appointed lawyers for willfully ramming his trawler into one of the Japanese patrol boats as they tried to shoo the vessel away from the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea on Sept. 7, 2010.

Zhan was briefly under arrest, but returned to China and is not expected to stand trial. If the indictment cannot be served within two months, it will be invalidated.

After Naha prosecutors decided twice not to press charges against the skipper, the independent 11-member panel sought mandatory indictment last July 21, arguing the captain’s reckless actions posed risks to human lives.