Prominent detentions of foreigners in North Korea


Prominent detentions of foreigners by North Korea in recent years:

— Kim Hak Song was detained Saturday to be investigated for committing unspecified hostile acts, North Korea has said. He worked in agriculture development at an experimental farm at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology.

— Tony Kim, who also goes by his Korean name Kim Sang-duk, was detained April 22 at the Pyongyang airport. He taught accounting at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. He was accused of committing unspecified criminal acts intended to overthrow the government.

— South Korean-born U.S. citizen Kim Dong Chul was sentenced in April 2016 to 10 years in prison with hard labor after being convicted of espionage. He told CNN he was president of a trade and hotel services company in Rason, North Korea.

— American tourist Otto Warmbier was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years in prison with hard labor for subversion. The University of Virginia undergraduate said he tried to steal a propaganda banner as a trophy for an acquaintance who wanted to hang it in her church.

— Hyeon Soo Lim, pastor of a Toronto church, was sentenced in December 2015 to life in prison for harming the dignity of North Korea’s leadership and trying to use religion to destroy its system. Supporters have said Lim was on a humanitarian trip when he was detained.

— Won Moon Joo, a South Korean studying at New York University, was freed in October 2015 after being detained for six months for illegal entry.

— American Sandra Suh was deported in April 2015 after being accused of making anti-North Korea propaganda while visiting the country.

— Americans Matthew Miller and Kenneth Bae went home in November 2014 after their release was secured through a secret mission by the top U.S. intelligence official. A missionary, Bae had been detained while leading a tour group in 2012 and was serving a 15-year sentence for alleged anti-government activities. Miller was serving six years on an espionage charge after North Korea accused him of wanting to secretly investigate its prison system.

— Jeffrey Fowle of Ohio was freed in October 2014, nearly six months after he was arrested for leaving a Bible in a nightclub.

— Australian missionary John Short was deported in March 2014 after he apologized for anti-state religious acts.

— In 2011, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter visited North Korea to win the release of American Aijalon Gomes, who had been sentenced to eight years of hard labor for crossing illegally into North Korea from China.

— In 2009, North Korea detained two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, for illegally crossing the border. They were later freed after former U.S. President Bill Clinton visited Pyongyang.