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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid