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, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

Studies point to possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More