North Korea has officially confirmed that under Kim Jong-un’s regime, they have arrested Tony Kim or Kim Sang-Duk, a United States citizen who was lecturing in the country’s capital city Pyongyang.
According to Al Jazeera, Kim Sang-Duk was arrested at Pyongyang’s airport on April 22 as he tried to leave the country after teaching for several weeks at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST).
The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that Tony Kim had been held for “committing criminal acts of hostility aimed to overturn the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).”
KCNA further added that Tony was “under detention by a relevant law enforcement body which is conducting detailed investigation into his crimes.”
The reports of Tony Kim getting detained surfaced in April, but the PUST’s authorities did not officially give the reason to the United States.
“We cannot comment on anything that Mr. Kim may be alleged to have done that is not related to his teaching work on the PUST campus,” the university said at that time.
What Will America Do For Tony Kim?
The confirmation of Kim Sang-Duk comes as tensions between the United States and North Korea are escalation with each passing day.
Apparently, the United States and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations, the U.S. state department will have to work with the Swedish Embassy, who will look after consular affairs between these two countries.
Apparently, Tony Kim or Kim Sang-duk is not the first foreign national to get detained in North Korea. The following are U.S.-Citizens to get detained in the Korean peninsula in the last two decades.
- Evan Hunziker was detained in August 1996 and was released after 95 days after he illegally entered North Korea.
- Similar to Evan, Euna Lee, Laura Ling, Robert Park, Aijalon Gomes were also detained after they all tried to enter North Korea.
- Eddie Yong Su Jun stayed in the detention for 208 days after getting charged with committing a crime against North Korea.
- Kenneth Bae served 735 days in detentions after he was caught for some unauthorized religious activities.
- Matthew Miller was in detention for over 200 days for acting hostile to the DPRK while entering the country disguising as a tourist. According to several outlets, he traveled the country just to get arrested.
- Jeffrey Fowle stayed in North Korea’s detention facility for over 150 days after he left a copy of Bible at a nightclub.
- Sandra Suh was claimed of harming the dignity of Korea’s supreme leadership and tried to use religion to destroy the North Korean system. Sandra was detained for a single day.
- Kim Dong Chul has served more than 500 days and is still under detention on the crimes of Espionage.
- Otto Warmbier was claimed of committing hostile acts against DPRK by allegedly stealing a propaganda poster from his hotel. As of this writing, Otto has served more than 450 days in detention facility.
What Is North Korean Detention Facility?
Back in 2016, satellite images showed what exactly North Korea’s prison camps look like. In the camps, the detainees are subjected to forced labor, torture, starvation, rape, and death.
According to an earlier report from the United Nations, up to 120,000 men, women, and children are imprisoned in the gulags, known as Kwanliso in the Korean peninsula. The Washington-based Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) released images of North Korea’s northeast coast camps and stated that the size of the camp has expanded since 2010.
“Our satellite imagery analysis of Camp No. 25 and other such unlawful detention facilities appears to confirm the sustained, if not increased importance of the use of forced labor under Kim Jong-un,” HRNK executive director Greg Scarlatoiu said in a statement.
The 2014 United Nation report estimated that hundreds of thousands of political prisoners have died in the North Korean gulags over the past 50 years.
“The inmate population has been gradually eliminated through deliberate starvation, forced labor, executions, torture, rape and the denial of reproductive rights,” the report read.
Keep checking this space to get the latest news on Kim Sang-duk in North Korea.
[Featured Image by Rahman Roslan/Getty Images]