News / Asia

UN Receives Evidence About Thai Woman Abducted by N. Korea

A 1984 photograph of American Charles Robert Jenkins and his wife and child on a beach. Anocha Panjoy’s family have identified her as the woman in the background.
A 1984 photograph of American Charles Robert Jenkins and his wife and child on a beach. Anocha Panjoy’s family have identified her as the woman in the background.
Officials from a U.N. human rights commission on Thursday met with family members of a Thai woman gone missing since allegedly being abducted by North Korean spies in Macau in 1978. Despite the passage of time, the family is still hopeful she can eventually return home.

For years following the 1978 disappearance of Anocha Panjoy little attention was paid to her case, not even in her native Thailand.
 
But that changed in 2005 with the publication of a book by a U.S. soldier who had lived in North Korea for decades after deserting his post along the Korean DMZ in 1965.
 
After he left North Korea, Charles Robert Jenkins, claimed that he knew the Thai woman well and that she had been married twice in North Korea to foreigners. Jenkins said Anocha had been abducted from Macau, where she was employed as a masseuse, so she could be married to a foreigner in North Korea and teach the Thai language to the country's spies.

Anocha's brother, Sukham Panjoy, and nephew, Banjong Panjoy, met in Bangkok Thursday with officials of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Anocha's family members say they were encouraged by the meeting because commission officials told them the evidence is strong that Anocha was abducted and her case will be included in a report presented next March to the world body's Human Rights Council.

Banjong told VOA he and his uncle hope this leads to an eventual reunion with Anocha.

Banjong said international organizations, such as the United Nations and Japanese groups concerned about human rights issues, have given the family a lot of help and that gives them hope they will see Anocha again one day.

Anocha's surviving relatives have previously appealed in a letter to the leadership in Pyongyang to release her, who, if alive, would be 59 years old.

Anocha Panjoy’s nephew holds a photo of his aunt after meeting with officials from a U.N. human rights commission on Thursday in Bangkok.Anocha Panjoy’s nephew holds a photo of his aunt after meeting with officials from a U.N. human rights commission on Thursday in Bangkok.
x
Anocha Panjoy’s nephew holds a photo of his aunt after meeting with officials from a U.N. human rights commission on Thursday in Bangkok.
Anocha Panjoy’s nephew holds a photo of his aunt after meeting with officials from a U.N. human rights commission on Thursday in Bangkok.
Since 2005, Thailand's Foreign Ministry has repeatedly requested information about Anocha from North Korean diplomats in high-level bilateral meetings. But Pyongyang has consistently denied the woman has ever been in the country.
Anocha's nephew is not happy with Thailand's official handling of the case.

Banjong said the Thai government has paid very little attention to the family's problem and still does not seem to believe that Anocha is really in North Korea.

A ministry official told VOA that Anocha's 1978 disappearance from Macau is treated as a missing person's case because there is "no other corroborating independent evidence" -- other than Jenkins' book and a photograph of an Asian woman sitting behind Jenkins, his wife and child on an unidentified beach.
 
Family members say they and her friends are convinced the woman in the 1984 photograph, supplied by Jenkins, is indeed Anocha.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid