North Korea has released a Chinese fishing boat and 16 fishermen after holding the vessel and its crew for two weeks, The Associated Press reported. Armed North Koreans seized the boat May 5, demanding US$97,742 in ransom. After pressure from the Chinese government and outcry from mainland internet users, the crew was released unharmed. The North Korean government’s role in the abduction and release was unclear. Lu Chao, a North Korea expert at the Liaoning Academy of Social Science, said the boat was most likely seized by armed border guards desperate for cash during a food shortage without the North Korean government’s knowledge.