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

Official: S. Sudan President, Rebel Leader to Meet in Tanzania

Talks part of effort to end conflict in country that has left more than 10,000 people dead, displaced more than 1.5 million others More

Dutch Deny Link to Mystery Submarine Off Sweden

Netherlands denies Russian claim that 'foreign vessel' photographed in waters off Sweden could be Dutch More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid