North Korea detained a US citizen for unknown reasons as he was planning to fly out of Pyongyang International Airport on Saturday morning.
The detained American is a professor, the South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported, Kim Sang Duk. He is also known as Tony Kim, according to the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST). The school said he was detained by authorities at the airport “after several weeks of service, teaching at PUST.”
The detention was confirmed by Martina Aberg, deputy chief of mission at the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang. The embassy represents US interests in North Korea, since Washington and Pyongyang do not have direct diplomatic relations.
The US State Department on Sunday said it was working on the case.
At least two other US citizens are known to be in North Korean custody:
– Otto Warmbier, 21, a student at the University of Virginia, was detained at Pyongyang airport on January 2 last year after visiting the country with a tour group. He has since been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly removing a political sign from a hotel wall.
– Kim Dong Chul, a naturalized US citizen of Korean origin, was arrested on October 2015. Last year, North Korea sentenced him to 10 years of hard labor on espionage charges.