SEOUL (AFP) - A Chinese luxury cruise ship impounded in South Korea for days due to a legal dispute has been released and returned to China, an official said on Tuesday.
The 47,000-tonne cruise liner Henna - that was carrying 1,600 passengers - had been held at South Korea's southern resort island of Jeju since arriving on Friday.
It had been scheduled to return to China after sailing around the Korean peninsula.
But a Jeju court banned the ship from leaving after a seizure request was made by Hong Kong-based Shagang Shipping, citing an apparent debt default.
The Beijing-based operator of the ship, HNA Cruise, paid a bond of 3.0 billion won (S$3.4 million) to the court, which then released the ship on Monday, a South Korean HNA agent said.
A large number of passengers had already returned to China on special chartered flights organised by HNA.
About 2.8 million Chinese visited South Korea in 2012, more than a quarter of the total 11 million foreign tourist arrivals.