It appears that stance holds up even if an error was made.
The two boats used for oyster and clam fishing had 14 women and eight men on board. Straying off course, they entered South Korean waters near Yeonpyeong Island. South Korean officials questioned the group that included three teenagers. Officials thought perhaps they were attempting to defect from the communistic North but quickly understood that this was an accident.
The fishing boats were taken and the South Koreans gave the 22 passage back to their country on an overland route.
As the Daily Mail reports:
Last night, a source with the South Korean national intelligence agency said: “We found the group were neither asylum seekers nor spies.
“They didn’t want to stay in South Korea, so we sent them back.
“We have heard that they were shot, but we had no idea that would happen.”
A source with North Korean contacts added: “They weren’t even given the option of going to a prison camp. They were simply executed.”
North Korea is saying that the group didn’t have authorisation to be on a maritime expedition. For that mistake they were shot to death when they returned back to the North.