News / Asia

N. Korea Detains Third American Tourist

VOA News
North Korea says it has detained another U.S. tourist, making him the third American held in the reclusive communist state.

The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) Friday said Jeffrey Edward Fowle, who entered the country legally as part of a tour group, was arrested for violating the terms of his visa and for “hostile activities” it described as “contrary to the purpose of tourism.”

The Japanese Kyoto News Agency cites diplomatic sources as saying Fowle was taken into custody after he left behind a bible in his Pyongyang hotel room.  

A State Department spokesperson has said the U.S. is aware of Fowle’s situation.

Two other Americans held by North Korea are Matthew Todd Miller and Kenneth Bae. Miller visited North Korea as a tourist and was detained there in April. He is said to have ripped-up his visa and demanded asylum.

Korean-American missionary Bae also remains in North Korean custody. He was arrested in 2012 and  sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for alleged subversion.

Some Americans have been captured and released by the North Koreans. Often they have been forced to read video-taped confessions to various charges.

Such was Merrill Newman’s experience late last year. He was an American tourist in North Korea who is also a Korean War veteran in his 80s. Newman was held for about a month and then released.

In other cases, the North Koreans have used the detention of U.S. citizens to summon former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Both presidents in separate trips traveled to the communist state to secure the release of Americans.

Some analysts have said Pyongyang may attempt to use detained American citizens to bargain with the U.S. for concessions on its nuclear and missile programs.

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by: Dusty Van from: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
June 06, 2014 4:46 PM
They say he broke the law. What law was that? The one that says that all men have to have the same haircut as the Baby Jong? Ha! There should be an international law. That haircut is offensive by itself.

In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
June 08, 2014 12:36 PM
The bible seems so innocent -- (BUT?) -- it could also be a code book of some kind, that someone could use to send coded messages to the enemies of North Korea? -- People who "vacation" in North Korea, must be (CIA) spies, wouldn't you say?


by: Snake Plissken from: USA
June 06, 2014 4:36 PM
So they were actually religious salesmen on a business trip trying to peddle their product in North Korea ... calling them stupid would be a gross understatement.


by: Anonymous
June 06, 2014 2:35 PM
Maybe Obama could trade a couple of Gitmo prisoners for this guy.


by: Ian from: USA
June 06, 2014 2:34 PM
As terrible as it may sound, our government should require peoples who want to visit certain countries such as North Korea , and other dangerous countries to submit paper which states that they are of sound minds and to sign a waiver not to ask the US government to bail them out of jail .


by: Carl Morris from: Cody, Wy
June 06, 2014 2:09 PM
Someday... just maybe.... we'll not allow any of our citizens to go into North Korea... at all... Anybody that travels into North Korea should be told to stay there.... to NOT come back to the U.S. .. and if they're imprisoned, we don't want to know about it. Why the heck are we trying to play nice with that bunch of tin-hat dictators that run North Korea?? They are our enemy... Go ahead and try to convince me different.... Just watch us increase the aid we send to them....

In Response

by: The gods amoungst us? from: planet earth
June 07, 2014 2:53 AM
Is is amazing that the dictator of North Korea as no human rights, no intelegence, and apparently NOT even enough sense to have fear - How can he hate his own people so much that he want to make each and every one suffer - ? They need to have a Man in that position. - that country and people may have great potential, but the world sits and watches as ONE person decides to be a Evil god! and develtate the lives of many! - what a strange world we live in! God Bless


by: Thomas Futch
June 06, 2014 2:09 PM
Not everyone thinks that the bible is the trust some of us know the lies it holds and the danger the followers of it's writings are.


by: Nick
June 06, 2014 2:07 PM
So how much money will it cost the American taxpayer to rescue this bonehead? This person should now be responsible to pay the bill. What do you suppose it costs to send an American president to rescue one of these "tourists"?...Millions!

Sorry, but I have not sympathy for someone that goes to a country like this and doesn't know the consequences.

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