American Detained In North Korea For…

a man in a black suit waving
image from USA Today

North Korea detained an American citizen in mid-May for the crime of leaving a Bible in his hotel room. Oh the horror! Talk about a ridiculous reason to be taken in.

The man, Jeffrey Edward Fowle was being questioned by authorities for conduct inappropriate for the purpose of his visit as a tourist. He was detained just before he was supposed to leave North Korea.

I’ve long wanted to visit North Korea but maybe it’s better not to according to a new travel warning from the U.S. State Department. According to the Washington Post- the State Department strongly advised against visiting the North and warned about arbitrary arrests, long-term detention and punishment or expulsion for “activities that would not be considered criminal outside North Korea.”

If given the chance to visit North Korea, I don’t think that I’d turn down the opportunity despite the travel warning.

Find out more in the Washington Post article here.

5 thoughts on “American Detained In North Korea For…

  1. JEM- I guess so but being from America makes these kind of things harder to see the rationale in.

    Joey- Thanks for the tips! I’d love to hear about your trip one of these days.

    JetAway- Ouch!

    mike- So true.

  2. I went to DPRK back in 2011 as part of a tour group and I’d go back again.

    I don’t know all the details here of why the North Koreans are detaining the American but I have a gut feeling it’s more than just leaving a Bible in his hotel room. Perhaps it was a Bible translated in Korean? Most North Koreans do not speak English.

    If you do go to DPRK, choose your tour group wisely and be careful what you bring (especially if it’s from South Korea.) I’d also learn a few phrases in Korean or bring a friend who knows Korean.

  3. Yup, pretty stupid reason to be detained. But given the recent history of missionaries being detained, it’s also pretty stupid to leave a religious tract in your hotel room. Certainly it’s not totally unreasonable, from NK’s perspective, to suspect he was trying to proselytize, if only passively – especially if it’s the only thing he ‘forgot’.

    Lots of stupid laws, even in the US . As a visitor, it’s incumbent to follow them anyway.

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