North Korea: Dozens Face Execution for Meeting with Missionary

ICC Note: South Korean news agencies are reporting that as many as thirty-three North Koreans may soon be executed for coming into contact with Kim Jung-wook, a Baptist missionary from South Korea who was arrested in the North back in October. Kim Jung-wook last week “confessed” to North Korean media sources that he was a spy working for the South. The South Korean intelligence community has flatly denied this, saying that Kim’s work was purely religious in nature. Christianity is completely repressed in North Korea, with as many as 50,000 North Koreans serving time in political prison camps were torture, execution, and starvation occur on a daily basis. 

3/5/2014 North Korea (Fox News) – Thirty-three North Koreans will likely be executed after being charged with attempting to overthrow the repressive regime of Kim Jong-un. The means of their alleged treachery? Receiving money to set up 500 underground churches from a South Korean missionary who has since been jailed by Pyongyang.

The South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo reported Wednesday that North Korea watchers believe that the harsh punishments have been ordered by Kim Jong-un to combat a wave of dissatisfaction with the regime’s isolationist “juche” doctrine.

The new revelations come less than one week after Kim Jung-wook, a South Korean Baptist missionary, held a press conference at which he apologized for committing “anti-state” crimes and appealed for his release from North Korean custody.

The missionary told reporters that he was arrested in early October after entering the North from China and trying to make his way to Pyongyang with Bibles, Christian instructional materials and movies. Kim Jung-wook said he had received assistance from South Korea’s intelligence agency.

“I was thinking of turning North Korea into a religious country, and destroying its present government and political system,” he said at the time. “I received money from the intelligence services and followed instructions from them, and arranged North Koreans to act as their spies. And I also set up an underground church in China, in Dandong, and got the members to talk and write, for me to collect details about the reality of life in North Korea, and I provided this to the intelligence services.”

A South Korean intelligence source in China took issue with Kim’s account, telling the Chosun Ilbo that the missionary did not enter North Korea voluntarily, but was kidnapped by agents of the Pyongyang government in China.

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