• Kyodo

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The captain and eight crew members of a South Korean freighter were arrested late Saturday for allegedly trying to smuggle 11 foreigners into Japan, the Japan Coast Guard and police said Sunday.

The 11 people from five countries attempted to enter Japan without valid passports traveling aboard the 2,628-ton freighter Jangwon-1. All 11 were in custody by Thursday.

The captain, Kim Yong Chon, and crew are suspected of helping the 11 to secretly enter Japan in violation of immigration laws.

Toyama police are searching for another member of the crew, a 47-year-old chef, they said.

The 11 reportedly told investigators they were from China, South Korea, Thailand, Bangladesh and Nauru.

The freighter, which left Pohang, South Korea, on July 19, arrived in Toyama on Wednesday. It was scheduled to head back to Pohang on Friday.