North Korea announced Friday that it has detained a U.S. citizen who it says entered the secretive country as a tourist and broke the law. The North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency gave the American’s name as Jeffrey Edward Fowle, saying he arrived as a tourist on April 29.
The news brings the number of Americans believed to be held in the communist nation to three.
Citing unidentified diplomatic sources, the Japanese news agency Kyodo reported that Fowle was part of a tour group and that he was detained in mid-May after allegedly leaving a Bible in a hotel where he had been staying.
North Korea said in late April it was holding a different American man, who it claimed came the country seeking asylum. He tore his tourist visa and shouted that “he would seek asylum” and “came to the DPRK (North Korea) after choosing it as a shelter,” KCNA said. KCNA identified that man as Miller Matthew Todd, who it says was taken into custody on April 10.
North Korea is also holding Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American missionary who was sentenced to 15 years hard labor in 2013 by a court that said he had carried out acts aimed at bringing down the regime of leader Kim Jong Un.