Official: 3 of 4 Koreans held by the North ID’d

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Official: 3 of 4 Koreans held by the North ID’d

A high-ranking government official in Seoul said yesterday three of the four South Koreans in North Korean detention have been identified.

“The government has confirmed that three South Koreans entered North Korea in January [without authorization] and we have identified them through tips from various channels,” the official said. “One of them, a man in his 30s or 40s, entered the North alone across China’s Tumen region.

“We’re still trying to find out more about the situation and we can’t reveal their identities,” the official added.

Other sources have said one man flew to Yanji Airport from Seoul on Jan. 8 and took a taxi, driven by a Korean resident there, to Tumen, near the China-North Korea border. The man then walked across the frozen Tumen River that flows between the countries and was soon whisked away by about a dozen North Korean guards.

Last Friday, the North announced that it had “recently” detained four South Koreans and that they were under questioning. On Tuesday, South Korean officials asked their North Korean counterparts about these four during their meeting on the Kaesong Industrial Complex. The North officials responded that their investigation is ongoing and they would inform the South once it is complete.

By Kang Chan-ho []
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