North Korea detained an American citizen last month, Kim Sang Dok, who was in North Korea on a teaching job with his wife. His wife was allowed to leave the country and come to the United States. However, North Korea refuses to let Dok go.
Kim Sang Dok was accused of “criminal acts of hostility aimed to overturn” North Korea—“not only in the past but also during his last stay before interception”— the Korean Central News Agency said Wednesday.
The school Dok, also known by his American name, Tony, taught at, was started by a Korean-American businessman. The founder of the school refused to discuss Dok’s case, saying only that it had nothing to do with the school.
The Wall Street Journal has more:
Mr. Kim, also known by his English name, Tony, taught at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. The school, founded by a Korean-American businessman, said last month that Mr. Kim had been detained as part of an investigation into “matters that are not connected in any way with the work of PUST,” and declined to comment on any of his activities beyond his teaching work. According to the KCNA, his subject was accounting.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported last month that Mr. Kim is in his late 50s and had been involved in aid work in North Korea. It said he was in the country to discuss relief activities.
Mr. Kim is the third known U.S. citizen to be detained by North Korea in recent months. Pyongyang last year sentenced Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia undergraduate arrested for allegedly trying to steal a political poster from a hotel, and Kim Dong-chul, a Korean-American businessman, to terms of 15 years and 10 years of hard labor, respectively.
A U.S. State Department spokesman last month declined to comment on Tony Kim’s case, citing privacy concerns, but said the department typically works with the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang when U.S. citizens are detained.
Representatives for the U.S. Embassy in Seoul didn’t immediately respond Wednesday to requests for comment.
Many of the humanitarian groups with U.S. ties that do aid work in North Korea are associated with Christian organizations. PUST’s founder is a Christian, as are many members of the teaching staff. North Korea views the spread of organized religion as a threat to the ruling family’s grip on power.