North Korea confirms latest detention of American citizen

North Korea confirms latest detention of American citizen

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — North Korea on Wednesday confirmed the detention of another American citizen for alleged acts of hostility aimed at overthrowing the country.

Kim Sang Dok, an accounting instructor at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, was “intercepted” at Pyongyang International Airport on April 22, according to the Korean Central News Agency. It said he was being detained while authorities conduct a detailed investigation into his alleged crime.

The school’s chancellor Park Chan-mo and the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang earlier gave the information about Kim’s detention but couldn’t provide the reason for his arrest. The school’s report used a different spelling of Kim’s name, Kim Sang-duk. Kim’s English name is Tony Kim.

He is now the third American being detained in North Korea. The other U.S. detainees are Otto Warmbier, serving a 15-year prison term with hard labour for alleged anti-state acts, and Kim Dong Chul, serving a 10-year term with hard labour for alleged espionage.

Analysts say North Korea often attempts to use foreign detainees to wrest outside concessions, which in the past have sometimes involved high-profile American missions sent to secure the release of detainees. Animosity between Pyongyang and Washington has spiked in recent weeks amid a game of brinkmanship between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Park said Kim, who is 58, was detained as he was trying to leave the country from Pyongyang’s international airport. A university spokesman said he was trying to leave with his wife on a flight to China. Park said he was informed that the detention had “nothing to do” with Kim’s work at the university but did not know further details.

The U.S. State Department said last month that it was aware of the report about a U.S. citizen being detained, but declined further comment “due to privacy considerations.”

Kim previously taught Korean at the Yanbian University of Science and Technology in Yanji, China, not far from the North Korea border, according to the school’s Communist Party Committee secretary.

The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology is the only privately funded university in North Korea. It held its first classes in 2010. It is unique in the North for its large number of foreign staff.

Hyung-Jin Kim, The Associated Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region is at 533

More wildfire smoke to fill the Okanagan

The smoke is coming from wildfires in California but is expected to be much lighter

City surveying seniors for problems in Revelstoke

The survey is available between Sept. 28 and Oct. 23

Revelstoke source of clue on Jeopardy

The prompt challenged knowledge of both art and wildlife in the area

New trial ordered for man found guilty of the 2010 murder of his wife in Arrow Lakes

Peter Beckett was found guilty of murdering his wife 10 years ago

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Documentary to celebrate the Shuswap’s music scene

Local initiative to feature several of the region’s artists

Guns seized in relation to southeast Kelowna murder investigation

RCMP seized several firearms from a West Kelowna home on Tuesday

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

Okanagan man accused of attacking two young boys back in court

Brian Lamb will remain behind bars until at least Oct. 14

Most Read