List of foreign nationals detained in North Korea

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This is a list of foreign nationals who have been detained in North Korea. Excluded from the list are any persons who were detained while on active military duty and held as prisoners of war or military defectors. Also excluded are people abducted in other countries and brought into North Korea.

Detained Australians[edit]

Name Detained Released Days in detention Reason for detention Ref.
John Short 16 February 2014 3 March 2014 15 Unauthorized religious activity [1]
Alek Sigley 25 June 2019 4 July 2019 9 Espionage, was arrested while studying in Pyongyang.[2][3] After negotiations through the Swedish embassy in North Korea, he was released.[4] [5][6]

Detained US citizens[edit]

Name Detained Released Days in detention Reason for detention Ref.
Evan Hunziker 24 August 1996 27 November 1996 95 Illegally entering North Korea [7]
Kwang Duk Lee 26 May 1998 27 August 1998 93 Espionage [8]
Karen Jung-sook Han 17 June 1999 20 July 1999 33 Committing "an illegal act". Was accused of insulting local officials. [9]
Euna Lee 17 March 2009 4 August 2009 140 Illegally entering North Korea (see 2009 imprisonment of American journalists by North Korea) [10]
Laura Ling [10]
Robert Park 25 December 2009 6 February 2010 43 Illegally entering North Korea [11]
Aijalon Gomes 25 January 2010 26 August 2010 213 Illegally entering North Korea [12]
Eddie Yong Su Jun November 2010 28 May 2011 ~208 "Committing a crime" against North Korea [13]
Kenneth Bae 3 November 2012 8 November 2014 735 Unauthorized religious activity [14][15]
Merrill Newman 26 October 2013 7 December 2013 42 Issues related to his service in the Korean War [16]
Matthew Miller 10 April 2014 8 November 2014 212 Acts hostile to the DPRK while entering under the guise of a tourist.[17] He had travelled to North Korea intending to get arrested.[18] [15][19]
Jeffrey Fowle 4 May 2014 21 October 2014 170 Acting "contrary to the purpose of tourism" by leaving a Bible at a nightclub [20][21]
Arturo Pierre Martinez 10 November 2014 December 2014 ~40 Illegally entering North Korea [22]
Sandra Suh 8 April 2015 8 April 2015 0 Deported for "covertly producing photos and videos to use in the anti-DPRK smear campaign" [23]

[24]

Miles, no surname given 13 August 2015 October 2015 ~70 Illegally entering North Korea. Previously sought legal long-term residence. Story initially went unreported, but was later verified and broken by NK News on condition of anonymity. [25]
Kim Dong Chul October 2015 9 May 2018 952 Espionage [26]

[27][28]

Otto Warmbier 2 January 2016 13 June 2017[a] 529 Committing "hostile acts" against the DPRK by allegedly stealing a propaganda poster from his hotel. Released back in a vegetative state, later succumbing to injuries inflicted from "severe brain damage".[29] [30]
Kim Sang-duk (Tony Kim) 21 April 2017 9 May 2018 384 Committing "hostile criminal acts with an aim to subvert the country" [27][31][32][33]
Kim Hak-song 7 May 2017 9 May 2018 368 Committing "hostile acts" against the state [34][35]
Bruce Byron Lowrance[b] 16 October 2018 16 November 2018 31 Illegally entering North Korea via China [36][37]

Detained South Korean citizens[edit]

Name Detained Released Days in detention Reason for detention Ref.
Min Young Mi 20 June 1999 25 June 1999 5 "Preaching defection". Detained after conversing with a North Korean tour guide. [38][39]
Kim Jung Wook (alternative spelling: Kim Jong Uk)[40] 8 October 2013 In detention 2,903 Unknown, possibly connected with Christian missionary work. Alleged activities as a "South Korean National Intelligence Service agent". [41][42]
Joo Won Moon 22 April 2015 5 October 2015 166 Illegally entering North Korea via China [43]
Kim Kook Kie June 2015 In detention 2,295 Committing "anti-DPRK espionage activities under the manipulation of the U.S. and puppet South Korea" [41]
Choi Chun Kil June 2015 In detention 2,295 Committing "anti-DPRK espionage activities under the manipulation of the U.S. and puppet South Korea" [41]
Ko Hyon Chol July 2016 In detention 1,899 Alleged kidnapping of orphans [41]

Other detained foreign citizens[edit]

Name Country Detained Released Days in detention Reason for detention Ref.
Alí Lameda  Venezuela September 1967 27 September 1974 ~2,555 Communist and translator working in the Foreign Affairs Ministry of North Korea, reportedly for joking about Kim Il-sung at an official feast. In a 1975 interview, Lameda expressed that his detention could have been a result of pressure by the Communist Party of Cuba after the Communist Party of Venezuela decided to accept pacification and abandon arms. [44][45]
Hyeon Soo Lim  Canada February 2015 9 August 2017 ~920 "Harming the dignity of the supreme leadership, trying to use religion to destroy the North Korean system" [46]
Jacques Sedillot  France September 1967 27 September 1974 ~2,555 Same background as Ali Lameda, see above [47][45]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Warmbier died six days after being released.
  2. ^ Lowrance's surname was misspelled and transposed in some news reports.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Australian missionary deported from North Korea describes 13-day detention". The Guardian. 5 March 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  2. ^ Petrov, Leonid (6 July 2019), Luck had nothing to do with Alek Sigley's escape from North Korea, Sydney, Australia: The Sydney Morning Herald, retrieved 10 July 2019
  3. ^ Taylor, Paige (4 July 2019), Missing Australian student Alek Sigley freed from detention in North Korea, now safe and out of country, Australia: The Australian, retrieved 10 July 2019
  4. ^ Australia warns released student Alek Sigley not to return to North Korea, Singapore: The Straits Times, 5 July 2019, retrieved 10 July 2019
  5. ^ "Alek Sigley: Australian student released from North Korea". The Guardian. 4 July 2019. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Alek Sigley: North Korea accuses Australian of 'spying'". BBC. 6 July 2019.
  7. ^ "Jailed American Arrives Home For Thanksgiving -- North Korea Frees Washington Man". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. 27 November 1996. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  8. ^ Mozingo, Joe (1 September 1998). "Freed Pastor Home After Ordeal". Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^ "North Korea to deport US prisoner". BBC News. 19 July 1999.
  10. ^ a b "Ling Sisters Recount Laura's Capture In North Korea". National Public Radio. 19 May 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  11. ^ Gabbatt, Adam (7 February 2010). "US human rights campaigner freed by North Korea returns home". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  12. ^ Andersen, Travis and Farah Stockman (27 August 2010). "Boston man set free in N. Korea". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  13. ^ CNN Wire Staff (29 May 2011). "Family of American detained in North Korea cheers his release". CNN. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  14. ^ Bright, Arthur (10 May 2013). "North Korea explains why it sentenced American Kenneth Bae to hard labor". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  15. ^ a b Greg Botelho, CNN (8 November 2014). "North Korea releases American detainees Bae, Miller". CNN. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  16. ^ "US war veteran Merrill Newman home after N Korea ordeal". BBC News. 7 December 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  17. ^ Fifield, Anna (14 September 2014). "North Korea sentences American Matthew Miller to 6 years of hard labor". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  18. ^ Stephen Evans (17 November 2014). "Matthew Miller: Trying to get jailed in North Korea". BBC. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  19. ^ Ferguson, Carol (2 July 2014). "Bakersfield man held in North Korea, US officials request release". KBAK-TV/KBFX-CD. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  20. ^ Labott, Elise (21 October 2014). "American released from North Korea". CNN. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  21. ^ "North Korea releases American Jeffrey Fowle, US confirms". The Guardian. London. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  22. ^ "Exclusive: American 'defector' home safely from North Korea: Martinez returned home discreetly last year, in contrast to public appearance in late 2014". NK News. 11 April 2016. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  23. ^ "Aid worker deported from North Korea on spying charges arrives in China". The Guardian. Agence France-Presse. 9 April 2015.
  24. ^ "American expelled for anti-DPRK propaganda". The Pyongyang Times. 13 April 2015. Archived from the original on 31 July 2016.
  25. ^ O'Carroll, Chad; Hotham, Oliver (24 December 2019). "U.S. citizen says he snuck into North Korea, was imprisoned in 2015". NK News. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  26. ^ Ripley, Will; Griffiths, James (22 January 2016). "North Korea reveals alleged U.S. prisoner to CNN". CNN. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  27. ^ a b "North Korea Releases 3 US Detainees From Labor Camps, Negotiating Return". 1 May 2018. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  28. ^ Calia, Mike (9 May 2018). "Trump: Secretary of State Pompeo heading back from North Korea with 3 released prisoners". CNBC. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  29. ^ "The Untold Story of Otto Warmbier, American Hostage | GQ". 1 August 2018. Archived from the original on 1 August 2018. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  30. ^ Pearson, James; Park, Ju-Min (22 January 2016). "North Korea detains U.S. student on New Year trip for 'hostile act'". Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  31. ^ Pearson, James; Park, Ju-Min (23 April 2017). "North Korea detains third U.S. citizen: Yonhap'". Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  32. ^ Park, Ju-min. "North Korea says American was detained for 'attempted subversion'". Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  33. ^ Sang-Hun, Chloe (9 May 2018). "3 Americans Are Released From North Korea, Trump Says". New York Times. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  34. ^ Lee, Taehoon (8 May 2017). "North Korea detains fourth US citizen". CNN. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  35. ^ Chappell, Bill; Domonoske, Camila (9 May 2018). "North Korea Releases 3 Americans As Pompeo's Visit Concludes". NPR. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  36. ^ Kim, Tong-Hyung (17 November 2018). "A look at Americans who have been detained in North Korea". AP News.
  37. ^ Gallagher, Linda (21 November 2018). "Central Lake man released from North Korean prison". The Antrim Review.
  38. ^ "Korean tourist released by North". BBC News. 25 June 1999.
  39. ^ "Mt. Kumgang tour must not be used for anti-north purpose". KCNA. 25 June 1999 – via KCNA Watch.
  40. ^ "South Korean missionary sentenced to life of hard labour by North Korea". the Guardian. Associated Press. 31 May 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  41. ^ a b c d Han, Tia (8 March 2018). "North Korea "irresponsive" on six South Koreans detained in DPRK, says MOU". NK News.
  42. ^ "KIM JONG UK". Church in Chains. 20 January 2020. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  43. ^ Hensley, Nicole (5 October 2015). "North Korea releases detained NYU student Joo Won-Moon: Seoul officials". New York Daily News.
  44. ^ "Democratic People's Republic of Korea: Ali Lameda: A personal account of the experience of a Prisoner of Conscience in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea". Amnesty International. 1979. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  45. ^ a b Socorro, Milagros (10 January 2015). "Alí Lameda, tortura terrible". El Estimulo. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  46. ^ "North Korea releases imprisoned Canadian pastor, state media says". CBC News. 9 August 2017. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  47. ^ "Democratic People's Republic of Korea: Ali Lameda: A personal account of the experience of a Prisoner of Conscience in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea". Amnesty International. 1979. Retrieved 3 March 2015.