Anocha Panjoy

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Anocha Panjoy
Anocha Panjoy, a Thai national abducted by North Korea.jpg
Anocha Panjoy before her abduction
Born 1955 (age 60–61)
San Kamphaeng, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Disappeared 21 March 1978
Status Missing for 38 years, 7 months and 3 days
Nationality Thai
Spouse(s) Larry Allen Abshier

Anocha Panjoy (Thai: อโนชา ปันจ้อย; rtgsAnocha Panchoi; born 1955) is a Thai national who was abducted by North Korean agents from Macau on 21 May 1978.[1][2][3] Her case only became known after the release of the American Charles Robert Jenkins[4] and his Japanese family in 2004.[5]

Early life and abduction[edit]

Panjoy was born in 1955 in the village of San Kamphaeng District, Chiang Mai Province, northern Thailand. Her father, Som Panjoy, was a Korean War Veteran. Panjoy's mother died while she was a child. Her father died three months before the family became aware of what had happened to her.

After graduating from high-school, Panjoy moved to Bangkok, and then to Macao where she worked as a massage therapist in a local hotel.[6] On the 21 May 1978, she left her apartment telling her friends she was heading to a local beauty parlour. According to Charles Robert Jenkins, whose book (The Reluctant Communist) tells of the abduction as told to him by Panjoy, Panjoy agreed to take a man claiming to be a Japanese tourist on a guided boat tour. On a nearby beach, she was ambushed and forced onto the boat, before being taken to North Korea.[6][7]

Life in North Korea[edit]

Shortly after her arrival in Pyongyang, Panjoy met and married to U.S. defector Larry Allen Abshier. In 1980 Panjoy and her husband moved into an apartment near Jenkins and his Japanese wife Hitomi Soga, herself an abductee.[4] Panjoy became close with the family. Abshier died in 1983.

Panjoy continued to live close to the Jenkins family until 1989, when she married an East German businessman who worked for the government. Soga and Jenkins last saw Panjoy in 1989, shortly before her second wedding.[7][8]

Jenkins stated that when he met Panjoy, she wished to return to Thailand and reunite with her family.[1]

Sightings and information since 2000[edit]

In 2003, shortly before his departure to Japan, Jenkins was told by North Korean officials that if he chose to remain in North Korea, he would be allowed to live with Panjoy. This made him believe she was still alive.[1]

Panjoy's family had no information about her condition until 2005, when her older brother recognised her in a photograph being held by Jenkins during a television interview.[7][9][10][11][12] Once her family realised she was alive until at least 1989, they began to look for help to have her returned.

In 2005, Panjoy's brother met Teruaki Masumoto, the secretary general of the National Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea (NAKRN).

In 2006, the city of Chiang Mai, near Panjoy's hometown staged a photo exhibition[13] to draw attention to her story. Suknam Panjoy wrote an open letter to his sister, supported by NARKN,[14] and ReACH.[15]

"I wonder if you miss me after you read this letter? Since seeing your news, everybody in our family hopes to see you soon. This abduction should never have happened to you. Everybody wants to see you. You know, after you disappeared, we have faced many trials and tribulations. We have spent a lot of money trying to find you. Our father fell ill so I finally admitted him to the hospital at age 97. But, he passed away last year. I hope that if you read this letter, you will miss all of your family. Your family wants to help you come back. You don’t need to be afraid of anything."[16]

With the death of Kim Jong-il in December 2011, [17] people are hopeful that progress can be made in negotiations between the countries.

North Korea denies that Panjoy was abducted by its agents or that she was ever in the country. North Korea also denies the abduction of any other foreign nationals, except for Japan.[citation needed][18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Bangkok's Independent Newspaper". 2007-09-19. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  2. ^ "The Abductees We Must Not Forget". Daily NK. 2010-04-28. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  3. ^ "Asia-Pacific | N Korea 'kidnapped Thai woman'". BBC News. 2005-11-07. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  4. ^ a b Jenkins, Charles Robert (2007). The Reluctant Communist: My Desertion, Court-Martial, and Forty-Year Imprisonment in North Korea, University of California Press, Berkeley. ISBN 0520253337
  5. ^ "Michael Kirby and a generation stolen by North Korea". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  6. ^ a b "NARKN". Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  7. ^ a b c Frederick, Jim (2005-11-14). "North Korea: Prisoner of Pyongyang?". TIME. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  8. ^ Chongkittavorn, Kavi (2008-11-15). "The Nation: Thailand's top English news website". Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  9. ^ "Brother of Thai abductee to North seeks assistance | The Japan Times Online". Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  10. ^ "Anocha's family ask govt to get her back". 2006-02-16. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  11. ^ "Lost, Without a Trace - Newsweek and The Daily Beast". 2006-02-19. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  12. ^ "Jenkins Photo Proof Of Kidnapping?". CBS News. 2009-02-11. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  13. ^ "Exhibition on Thai North Korean Abductees Held". Daily NK. 2008-07-16. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  14. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  15. ^ "ReACH: Rescuing Abductees Center for Hope". Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  16. ^ "ReACH: Rescuing Abductees Center for Hope". Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  17. ^ "The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea - N. Korea Kidnapped Other Asian Women: Monthly Chosun". Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  18. ^ "UN probe revives hope for Thai 'abducted by N. Korea'". Fox News. 2013-09-26. 

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