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6/13/17 Washington Post: “Otto Warmbier has been freed, but 3 other Americans remain prisoners in North Korea”
By Amanda Erickson

At least three other Americans remain in North Korean custody. Here’s a look at their stories.

Kim Hak-song

Kim Hak-song had worked for the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology and was detained in May on suspicion of “hostile acts” against North Korea. According to the university’s chancellor, he had been doing agricultural development work with the school’s agricultural farm.

Kim was born in China and studied in California. “He was a very diligent, hard-working man determined to help people in North Korea,” David Kim, a classmate, told CNN. “He went to Pyongyang to devote himself to the development of North Korea’s agricultural technology so that the North can be self-sufficient with food.”

Kim Sang-duk

Kim Sang-duk (who goes by his American name, Tony Kim) was detained in April as he waiting to fly out of Pyongyang airport. He’d been teaching a month-long class in international finance and management at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) while serving on the faculty at Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China. The PUST chancellor said in a statement that Kim has been involved in some other activities, like volunteering at an orphanage, while in North Korea. He was in his 50s and had come to teach in the past at the school.

PUST and Yanbian University of Science and Technology are sister schools. It is the only private educational institution in North Korea and has more than 60 foreign faculty members, including from the United States, Canada, Britain and China, according to its website. “The mission of PUST is to pursue excellence in education, with an international outlook, so that its students are diligent in studies, innovative in research and upright in character, bringing illumination to the Korean people and the world,” it says.

Suki Kim, a Korean American author who taught at PUST for six months, wrote a book called “Without You There Is No Us,” describing the faculty members holding private prayer meetings and Bible study sessions.

Kim Dong-chul

Kim Dong-chul, a former Virginia resident, is a businessman. In an interview, he told CNN that he’d lived in the Chinese city of Yanji since 2001 and worked in the Rason-Sonbong special economic zone, just over the North Korean border. Kim ran a trade and hotel services company.

He was accused of spying on the regime and sentenced to 10 years of hard labor in April 2016.

Kim, 62, was born in South Korea and became a U.S. citizen in 1987. In the interview with CNN, he said that he was arrested in October 2015 while meeting with a former North Korean soldier. Pyongyang accused Kim of receiving a USB drive and documents containing some North Korea nuclear secrets. At a government-organized news conference, he apologized for trying to steal military secrets in collusion with South Koreans. (South Korea denies this.) He begged for mercy, and called his alleged acts “unpardonable.”

As my colleague Anna Fifield reported, such “ ‘confessions’ have become part of North Korea’s playbook for detainees.” After their release, “several detainees have described being told what to say by their North Korean captors.”




8 thoughts on “Home

  1. This is on the big national level. Even at the local level it’s hard for Asian Americans to get their footing for political positions: http://www.bensonhurstbean.com/2016/06/colton-slams-imposter-billy-thai-misleading-leaflets/#.V2ScY_krLIU
    Learn more about Billy Thai’s Campaign: billythai.com
    Like the FB page: facebook.com/billythaiforny/
    Join the group: facebook.com/groups/1046230008746329/

    Posted by Aimee Shiu | June 17, 2016, 7:55 pm
  2. Is this a Democrat Party ‘thing’ or is it just that these most regrettable things happen to be happening on Obama’s watch.

    I can argue that if Obama was really for racial unity, he’d have his people be more careful in taking these actions.

    Would a Republican administration do any better?

    The Democrats appear to be ‘flubbing it’….in football, if your team can’t move the ball forward ten yards in four plays, the ball goes over to the other team, and they get a crack at trying to move it forward ten yards in four plays. I may be belittling the injustice of the situation; my apologies for doing so. The point is, let’s give the other team (a.k.a. the Republicans) a chance with the ball and see if they ‘flub it’.

    Posted by Joe Kwiatkowski | July 23, 2016, 11:31 pm
  3. Dear Mr. Kwiatkowski,

    I am unaware of Republicans indicting Asian Americans and then having to dismiss the cases as being without merit. As you noticed from reading the rest of the Hall of Shame, some Republicans have taken other unfair governmental actions against Asian Americans.

    Don W Joe
    Asian American Politics

    Posted by donwjoe | July 24, 2016, 7:20 am
  4. Note: for all of his embarrassing (especially to Republicans and right-leaning libertarians like me) talk about Hispanics and Muslims, I don’t recall that Donald Trump has had much to say, good or bad, about Asian-Americans. He has denounced what he asserts are ‘bad trade deals’, but that’s about all I’ve heard. Maybe I’ve missed it, in all of the furor over his ‘asking the Russians to find Hillary’s 30,000 missing e-mails’, or his assertion that ‘President Obama started Isis (he may have enabled it to become what it is today, but it wasn’t his idea) or even going back to his spat with Megyn Kelly.

    Anyone with knowledge along these lines, comment here and enlighten my ignorance…

    Posted by Joe Kwiatkowski | August 12, 2016, 3:12 pm
  5. On the day of his inauguration, I wonder what you folks at Asian-American politics expect from a Trump presidency?

    Posted by Joe Kwiatkowski | January 20, 2017, 9:29 am
  6. Looking at Don Joe’s post of July 24 of last year, methinks maybe I ought to read those ‘Hall of Shame’ entries and see what Republicans have done.

    Be aware that my own political leanings are libertarian…I tend to side with the Republicans on fiscal issues and either side with the Democrats or remain neutral on social issues. For instance, I try to ‘look the other way’ on gay marriage.

    Posted by Joe Kwiatkowski | January 20, 2017, 9:34 am
  7. Most Asian Americans vote Democrat now so they expect the worse from Trump: hostile immigration policies, repealing Obamacare and fraying welfare programs. Republican Asian Americans may hope for less discrimination against Asian American applicants to universities, less onerous regulation of businesses, and more support for Taiwan.

    Posted by donwjoe | January 20, 2017, 10:12 pm
  8. The hot-button issues, as you can plainly see for yourself, involve Hispanics from south of the Rio Grande, and Muslims in general. I note that in history people have been suspicious of Catholics. I myself need to take a closer look at the conflicts between Catholics and Protestants in history – the English-Spanish conflict that led to the Spanish Armada, the Thirty Years’ War in Germany, and other situations.

    I think, repeat, think I understand the threat of Islamic terrorists infiltrating into the U.S. with the mass of refugees. I think, repeat, think, I understand the threat of Muslims trying to impose their religion on the world. I hate religious fanatics in general, regardless of denomination, though not intensely. preach to me if you will, but let me worship according to the dictates of my own conscience in the end… even if I ‘elect’ not to worship at all. I do happen to be an evolutionist. (Calling myself a ‘Darwinist’ might cause people to think I pray to Charles Darwin, which sounds a little bit crazy, don’t you think?)

    Posted by Joe Kwiatkowski | February 2, 2017, 8:48 pm

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