North Korea has detained another American tourist, bringing to three the number of U.S. citizens being held in the country.
The reclusive state’s Korean Central News Agency said Friday that Jeffrey Edward Fowle entered the country April 29 as a tourist and was being held for anti-North Korean activities. “A relevant organ ... detained him and is investigating him” for violating North Korean law, the agency said in a brief statement.
An attorney who is acting as a spokesman for Fowle's family confirmed that North Korea had detained the married father of three from Miamisburg, Ohio, the Associated Press reported. The attorney, Timothy Tepe, said the family would issue a statement Monday and not comment until then, “given the sensitive nature of Jeff's situation.”
In April, North Korea announced that it was holding another U.S. citizen, named Miller Matthew Todd (though it appeared the agency had provided the man’s family name first, Korean-style). The news agency said the 24-year-old had been detained April 10 for his “rash behaviors” while going through formalities to enter the country as a tourist. KCNA said the man had torn up his tourist visa and said he wanted “shelter” in the nation.
Kenneth Bae, a Korean American tour guide and evangelist, has been imprisoned in North Korea since November 2012. He was arrested in the city of Rason and charged with “hostile acts against the state." He is serving a sentence of 15 years hard labor. He was moved last summer from a prison camp to a hospital for foreigners in Pyongyang, the capital, then transferred in February of this year to a labor camp.
Officials from the Swedish Embassy, which represents U.S. interests in North Korea, have been meeting with Bae regularly.