South Korea's highest court Saturday upheld a death sentence for a Chinese sailor who led a mutiny in which 11 of his shipmates were killed and thrown overboard.
The Supreme Court also upheld terms of life imprisonment for five other Chinese sailors for murdering or beating their victims unconscious and then throwing them into the sea in one of the bloodiest mutinies in years.
The six defendants, all ethnic Koreans who lived in China, were sentenced to death in December. All but Quan Zaiquin, 38, leader of the Aug. 2 mutiny, had their sentences reduced to life in prison by an appellate court in April.
They have testified that they mutinied to protest inhumane treatment by South Korean shipmates on their Honduran-registered tuna boat.
But all evidence and testimony by survivors revealed that the six Chinese planned the mutiny to avoid deportation after the South Korean captain decided to discharge them for failing to perform their duties, the court said.
The Pesca Mar No. 15 had 26 people on board when the mutiny occurred. It was found adrift south of Japan on Aug. 25, with the mutineers overcome and locked up by surviving crew members.