North Korea holding another American prisoner

CNN is reporting that a previously unknown American citizen is being imprisoned by North Korea on espionage charges.

Kim Dong Chul, a naturalized American, told reporter Will Ripley that he spied for "conservative elements" in South Korea and that he wanted the U.S. and South Korean governments to rescue him.

Also being held was a Canadian pastor, accused of trying to overthrow the government.

CNN:

Kim, 62, was frogmarched into the room by stony-faced guards, who insisted that the interview be conducted in Korean, through an official translator.

The translation was later independently corroborated by CNN.

Kim told CNN that in 2001 he moved to Yanji, a city near the Chinese-North Korean border that acts as a trade hub between the two countries.

From Yanji, Kim said he commuted daily to Rason, a special economic zone on the North Korean side of the border, where he served as president of a company involved in international trade and hotel services.

According to Kim, he spied on behalf of "South Korean conservative elements," for which he was arrested in October 2015.

"I was tasked with taking photos of military secrets and 'scandalous' scenes," he said.

Kim named a number of South Koreans he said "injected me with a hatred towards North Korea."

"They asked me to help destroy the (North Korean) system and spread propaganda against the government."

According to Kim, North Korean officials said they had been monitoring his activities since 2009, two years after he established his cross-border business.

He started working as a spy in April 2013, bribing local residents to "gather important materials," which he smuggled into China or South Korea.

Asked whether he worked for the U.S. at any time, Kim said categorically that he did not.

Kim was arrested in October 2015 while he was meeting a source to obtain a USB stick and camera used to gather military secrets.

The source, a 35-year-old former North Korean soldier, was also arrested. Kim said he did not know the other man's fate.

During the almost two yearts of spying in North Korea, Kim only made around $5,300 (35,000 yuan).

Asked why he would risk his freedom for such a relatively paltry sum of money, Kim said that "it wasn't about the money."

Kim may or may not be a spy, Considering the "interrogation" methods of the North Koreans, he may have been programmed to say just about anything. 

As for the Canadian pastor, he evidently had a little too much to say against the regime:

Hyeon Soo Lim, a South Korean-born Canadian who was the head pastor at one of Canada's largest churches, has been held by the North since February. Lim, who was 60 at the time of his arrest, was sentenced to hard labor for life in December for attempting to overthrow the North's regime.

"I wasn't originally a laborer, so the labor was hard at first," Lim told CNN in Korean through an interpreter. "But now I've gotten used to it."

The charges against Lim lacked specifics, but Lim said it may have had to do with his open criticism of the North's three generations of leaders.

"I admit I've violated this government's authority, system and order," Lim said in the interview aired on Monday. Asked if his biggest crime was speaking badly of the North's leaders, he said: "Yes, I think so."

Lim, who was brought into a Pyongyang hotel for the interview, his hair cropped short and wearing a gray padded prison uniform bearing the number "036" on his chest, works eight hours a day, six days a week digging holes in an orchard at a labor camp where he has seen no other prisoners, CNN said.

Lim, who had lived in Canada since 1986, gets three meals and day and regular medical attention, CNN said. His church has said Lim had a "very serious health problem, very high blood pressure."

Sounds like Lin is living in Dante's version of hell.  Let's hope the Canadians can get him out soon.

The North will probably want prisoners being held in South Korea released in exchange for Kim.  The South Korean government will probably want some of their citizens being held illegally by the North as well.  The negotiations will be long and difficult as the North seeks to maximize its leverage to get as much as it can.

CNN is reporting that a previously unknown American citizen is being imprisoned by North Korea on espionage charges.

Kim Dong Chul, a naturalized American, told reporter Will Ripley that he spied for "conservative elements" in South Korea and that he wanted the U.S. and South Korean governments to rescue him.

Also being held was a Canadian pastor, accused of trying to overthrow the government.

CNN:

Kim, 62, was frogmarched into the room by stony-faced guards, who insisted that the interview be conducted in Korean, through an official translator.

The translation was later independently corroborated by CNN.

Kim told CNN that in 2001 he moved to Yanji, a city near the Chinese-North Korean border that acts as a trade hub between the two countries.

From Yanji, Kim said he commuted daily to Rason, a special economic zone on the North Korean side of the border, where he served as president of a company involved in international trade and hotel services.

According to Kim, he spied on behalf of "South Korean conservative elements," for which he was arrested in October 2015.

"I was tasked with taking photos of military secrets and 'scandalous' scenes," he said.

Kim named a number of South Koreans he said "injected me with a hatred towards North Korea."

"They asked me to help destroy the (North Korean) system and spread propaganda against the government."

According to Kim, North Korean officials said they had been monitoring his activities since 2009, two years after he established his cross-border business.

He started working as a spy in April 2013, bribing local residents to "gather important materials," which he smuggled into China or South Korea.

Asked whether he worked for the U.S. at any time, Kim said categorically that he did not.

Kim was arrested in October 2015 while he was meeting a source to obtain a USB stick and camera used to gather military secrets.

The source, a 35-year-old former North Korean soldier, was also arrested. Kim said he did not know the other man's fate.

During the almost two yearts of spying in North Korea, Kim only made around $5,300 (35,000 yuan).

Asked why he would risk his freedom for such a relatively paltry sum of money, Kim said that "it wasn't about the money."

Kim may or may not be a spy, Considering the "interrogation" methods of the North Koreans, he may have been programmed to say just about anything. 

As for the Canadian pastor, he evidently had a little too much to say against the regime:

Hyeon Soo Lim, a South Korean-born Canadian who was the head pastor at one of Canada's largest churches, has been held by the North since February. Lim, who was 60 at the time of his arrest, was sentenced to hard labor for life in December for attempting to overthrow the North's regime.

"I wasn't originally a laborer, so the labor was hard at first," Lim told CNN in Korean through an interpreter. "But now I've gotten used to it."

The charges against Lim lacked specifics, but Lim said it may have had to do with his open criticism of the North's three generations of leaders.

"I admit I've violated this government's authority, system and order," Lim said in the interview aired on Monday. Asked if his biggest crime was speaking badly of the North's leaders, he said: "Yes, I think so."

Lim, who was brought into a Pyongyang hotel for the interview, his hair cropped short and wearing a gray padded prison uniform bearing the number "036" on his chest, works eight hours a day, six days a week digging holes in an orchard at a labor camp where he has seen no other prisoners, CNN said.

Lim, who had lived in Canada since 1986, gets three meals and day and regular medical attention, CNN said. His church has said Lim had a "very serious health problem, very high blood pressure."

Sounds like Lin is living in Dante's version of hell.  Let's hope the Canadians can get him out soon.

The North will probably want prisoners being held in South Korea released in exchange for Kim.  The South Korean government will probably want some of their citizens being held illegally by the North as well.  The negotiations will be long and difficult as the North seeks to maximize its leverage to get as much as it can.