Monday, December 31, 2012

American Christian Remains Detained in North Korea

12/30/2012 North Korea (CIC) - An American, who has been linked to a Protestant group spreading Christianity, was expected to spend New Year behind bars in North Korea on charges of "hostile acts against the republic". The North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said that Bae Jun-ho had entered the country on November 3 through the far northeastern city of Rajin as part of a tour.

Rajin is part of a special economic zone not far from Yanji, China, that has sought to draw foreign investors and tourists over the past year. Yanji, home to many ethnic Korean Chinese, also serves as a base for Christian groups that shelter North Korean defectors.

"In the process of investigation, evidence proving that he committed a crime against (North Korea) was revealed. He admitted his crime," the KCNA dispatch said. The North said the crimes were "proven through evidence" but did not elaborate.

Human rights activists in South Korea said they believed Bae to be Kenneth Bae, 44, who was born in South Korea and later moved to the United States where he received American citizenship. Bae was reportedly acting as a travel agent specializing in taking tourists and investors around North Korea, while in reality he may have been a Christian missionary, said Cindy Ryu, Democrat representative of Bea's home state of Washington.

“Many of us are third- and fourth-generation Christians and many of our pastors are originally from North Korea,” she explained in published remarks. “We want to visit our home country, but in North Korea you cannot say you are a missionary.” The U.S. State Department said it was aware of the case, but declined to provide more details(Source).

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