South Korean border guards arrested an American man who they believe was attempting to swim across a river to North Korea.
The man told investigators that he tried to go to North Korea to meet leader Kim Jong Un, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported, citing an unidentified government source. It said the man, aged around 29, is a computer repairman from Texas who came to South Korea 10 days ago.
Americans are occasionally arrested after entering North Korea illegally from China, but a U.S. citizen trying to get in from South Korea is unusual.
In 1996, American Evan C. Hunziker entered North Korea by swimming across the Yalu River that marks the Chinese border. Hunziker, 26, who apparently made the swim on a drunken dare, was accused of spying and detained for three months.
Some Americans recently detained in North Korea include missionaries aiming to spread the gospel or draw attention to human rights abuses. On Christmas Day in 2009, Korean-American missionary Robert Park defiantly walked into North Korea from China calling for the dismantling of the North’s prison camps.