The North has arrested and jailed several US citizens in the past decade, often releasing them only after high-profile visits by current or former US officials or former US presidents. PHOTO: Ed Jones / AFP
North Korea announced on Sunday that it had detained a US citizen, the fourth American in custody there, as tensions rise between Pyongyang and Washington.
The North has arrested and jailed several US citizens in the past decade, often releasing them only after high-profile visits by current or former US officials or former US presidents.
These are the US citizens now being held:
Kim Hak-Song had been working for the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) before he was arrested on Saturday, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
The university was founded by evangelical Christians from overseas and opened in 2010, and is known to have a number of American faculty members. Pupils are generally children from the North’s elite.
No further information has yet been released on Kim.
Kim Sang-Duk, or Tony Kim, was arrested last month at the main airport as he tried to leave the country after teaching for several weeks, also at PUST.
Kim is a former professor at Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China, close to the Korean border. Its website lists his speciality as accounting.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency has given Kim’s age as 55 and said he had been involved in relief activities for children in rural parts of North Korea. It cited a source who described him as a “religiously devoted man”.
Kim Dong-Chul was last year sentenced to 10 years’ hard labour on charges of subversion and espionage.
He was arrested in October 2015 as he received a USB stick containing nuclear-linked data and other military information from a source, according to the the North’s state media.
Kim said he had been living in China near the North Korean border for the past 15 years, commuting regularly to a special economic zone in the North.
Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old student from the University of Virginia, was arrested for removing a political banner from a wall in a hotel — a “crime” that saw him sentenced to 15 years’ hard labour.
Warmbier was detained at the airport as he was leaving the country with a tour group in January 2016.
The United States has accused the North of using Warmbier as a political pawn. It condemned the sentence as way out of proportion for what amounted to little more than a misdemeanour.