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Ottawa urged to aid N. Korea captive

ICC Note:

Many in the Korean Canadian community gather to help support the release of imprisoned Christian humanitarian aid worker.

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1/26/2008 North Korea (Malaysia) Leaders in the Korean Canadian community are rallying behind Je Yell Kim and have asked Ottawa to help secure the release of the Edmonton humanitarian aid worker being detained in North Korea.

A letter signed by the presidents of 10 Korean Canadian Associations across the country, and the head of the Korean Canadian Federation, was sent to Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week “in a plea that the government work on this case,” Sang Hoon Lee, head of the KCA of the Greater Toronto Area said in an interview.

Lee and his counterparts are also counting on Canada’s ambassador to South Korea, Ted Lipman – recently accredited as Canada’s representative in the North – to raise Kim’s case in discussions with authorities there. Lipman was scheduled to meet with North Korean officials in the capital Pyongyang earlier this week.

Kim was taken into custody by North Korean authorities Nov. 3 and is being held in a remote area of North Korea. Christian aid and development workers say he was detained on charges of “national security,” but there is no word as to what he is alleged to have done. Concerns are mounting as to his health and safety.

For almost a decade, Kim, a dental technician and inter-denominational Christian minister based in Edmonton, has dedicated himself to helping poor North Koreans, providing dental supplies and basic training to those in the northeast corner of the country.

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