US Citizen Detained in DPRK

22 Dec
The compound containing the Embassy of Sweden and the Embassy of Germany in  Munsu-dong in east Pyongyang (Photo: Google image)

The compound containing the Embassy of Sweden and the Embassy of Germany in Munsu-dong in east Pyongyang (Photo: Google image)

DPRK state media reported on 21 December (Friday) that “a relevant institution” has held a US citizen since early November.  Yonhap reported on 11 December that the 44-year old man, who has led tours of the DPRK, was arrested in Raso’n (Rajin-So’nbong) after a member of his tour group was discovered with a computer hard drive containing “sensitive information.”  As of early December, Sweden’s Embassy in Pyongyang (which has US protecting power in the DPRK) was attempting to get access to the man.  According to KCNA, the Swedish Embassy officials “visited him” on Friday (21 December).  KCNA reported that “in the process of investigation evidence proving that he committed a crime against the DPRK was revealed” and that the man “admitted his crime.”  According to KCNA, “legal actions are being taken against (him) in line with the criminal procedure law of the DPRK.”

In March 2011, two Japanese citizens were arrested in Raso’n and detained on drug trafficking charges.  They were released in January 2012.  During July and August  2011, the owner of a Dutch stamp shop, who had visited the DPRK on 24 previous occasions, was detained for nearly two weeks after his DPRK contacts irked local law enforcement authorities.  In May 2012, elements of the Korean People’s Army Navy Command seized and detained Chinese fishing trawlers and 29 crew members for 12 days.

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