Destinations Asia

North Korea Detains Its Third American Tourist

Jun 06, 2014 1:00 pm

Skift Take

Of all the destinations in the world, North Korea is one that Americans should skip for the foreseeable future. Wasn’t that clear already?

— Samantha Shankman

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Kim Hong-Ji  / Reuters

A woman holding an umbrella stands next to a pair of binoculars for tourists at the Imjingak pavilion near the demilitarized zone which separates the two Koreas, in Paju, north of Seoul October 16, 2013. Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

North Korea has detained another American tourist, bringing to three the number of U.S. citizens being held in the country.

The reclusive state’s Korean Central News Agency said Friday that Jeffrey Edward Fowle entered the country April 29 as a tourist and was being held for anti-North Korean activities. “A relevant organ … detained him and is investigating him” for violating North Korean law, the agency said in a brief statement.

It was not immediately clear where Fowle was from, whom he was traveling with, or how old he is.

In April, North Korea announced that it was holding another U.S. citizen, named Miller Matthew Todd (though it appeared the agency had provided the man’s family name first, Korean-style). The news agency said the 24-year-old had been detained April 10 for his “rash behaviors” while going through formalities to enter the country as a tourist. KCNA said the man had torn up his tourist visa and said he wanted “shelter” in the nation.

Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American tour guide and evangelist, has been imprisoned in North Korea since November 2012. He was arrested in the city of Rason and charged with “hostile acts against the state.” He is serving a sentence of 15 years hard labor. He was moved last summer from a prison camp to a hospital for foreigners in Pyongyang, the capital, then transferred in February of this year to a labor camp.

Officials from the Swedish Embassy, which represents U.S. interests in North Korea, have been meeting with Bae regularly.

(c)2014 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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