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14 South Korean missionaries disappear

Two of their companions claimed the missionaries were kidnapped in Liaoning , where they are being kept as hostages.
For the full story, go to (AsiaNews) – The South Korean Foreign Ministry and Seoul police are searching for 14 Christian missionaries after receiving a report saying they were kidnapped in China . Seoul ‘s Mapo Police Station said on Tuesday, 4 April, that it received the report from two missionaries who left for Dalian in China ‘s northeastern Liaoning province with 14 others late last month.

The two missionaries who called the Mapo police on Monday, 3 April, said the 14 missionaries were kidnapped and were being kept as hostages in that area of the country. Police also said the two had announced their intention to return to Seoul after the phone call, but apparently they did not board their plane. The ministry and police are asking for cooperation from Chinese public security authorities to solve the mystery.

The work of foreign missionaries in China is often to serve around 400,000 North Korean illegal immigrants, who cross the north-east border in search of food and work.

Since the Chinese government has decided to help Pyongyang by repatriating the refugees, they are forced to in hiding, waiting for a chance to make it to another destination. For them, repatriation means prison, torture, prolonged interrogation and forced labour. Prison terms are so tough in North Korea , due to mistreatment and lack of food, that a large number of prisoners do not survive them.

North Korean refugees who convert – usually after they meet Christian missionaries and volunteers helping them – face even greater risks. If tracked down and sent back to their homeland, their punishment would be even more brutal, possibly resulting in death.