Another American has been detained while traveling in North Korea, according to media reports.
The man, identified by The Associated Press as 56-year-old Ohio native Jeffrey Edward Fowle, is being held on unspecified charges by the North Korean government.
“The state-run Korean Central News Agency identified the latest detainee as Jeffrey Edward Fowle. It said Friday that he arrived in North Korea on April 29 and authorities were investigating him for committing acts inconsistent with the purpose of a tourist visit. It did not give details.”
Fowle’s being detained in North Korea makes him the third person to be imprisoned in the country in more than a year.
The AP report indicated that in addition to Fowle, 24-year-old Matthew Miller is in detention in the country after seeking asylum. He, like Fowle, had entered the country on a tourist visa but allegedly ripped it up after arriving in the country.
The third American detained in North Korea is Kenneth Bae, who was leading a tour group in the nation when he was detained and eventually sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for what North Korea said was an attempt to overthrow the regime of Kim Jong-un. The Inquisitr reported in January about Bae’s pleas for help from the United States government.
As for what exactly caused Fowle to be detained by the North Koreans, no one knows for certain. But Reuters, citing a Japanese news agency, said he was detained for having a copy of the Bible in his Pyongyang hotel room.
“Kyodo cited unidentified diplomatic sources as saying the American was detained just before he was to leave North Korea, for having left a Bible in his hotel.”
While there has been no solid confirmation that Fowle was in fact detained for having a Bible, North Korean authorities are saying he violated the purpose of his tourist visa.
In addition to the three Americans in custody, the Daily Mail is reporting that other Americans have been detained and released by the communist North Korea, including an Korean War veteran who was detained for over a month.
Any attempts to get the three Americans back from the North Koreans could prove difficult as the United States does not have diplomatic relations with the country, instead having to rely on Sweden, which has an embassy in Pyongyang. In the past, Reuters reports that the North Koreans have used detainees as a way to get high profile visits from high ranking Americans, such as a visit a few years ago by former US President Bill Clinton.
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