Canadian pastor detained in North Korea?

A Canadian pastor is missing after going on a trip to North Korea in late January, says his family and church.

Reverend Hyeon Soo Lim, 60, went to North Korea on a humanitarian trip as he had done over a hundred times before, said Lisa Pak, a spokesperson for his church, based in Mississauga, Ontario.

On January 30, Lim traveled to North Korea from China with a companion from the church who last spoke with him the following day, on January 31.

Lim was scheduled to return on February 4 from what was described as a “routine” trip to Rajin, located northeast in the country, where his church supports a nursery, orphanage and nursing home, according to the Light Korean Presbyterian Church. However, so far he has failed to show.

The church has formally requested help in finding Lim from Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, and has contacted the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang, which provides consular help for citizens of the U.S., Canada and Australia, which do not have diplomatic ties with North Korea.

Lim immigrated to Canada in 1986 from South Korea with his wife and son. He speaks fluent Korean and leads a 3,000-member church. The church’s spokesman, Pak said she doesn’t believe Lim would have engaged in any type of proselytizing, which is prohibited in North Korea.

“He knows the language, he knows the nature of the government, so we don’t see that as a legitimate reason that he would be detained,” Pak said. “We don’t believe that’s the way he would have behaved. He’s very wise about that.”