Who is Kenneth Bae and why is he being held by North Korea?

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Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American tour operator, was arrested by security authorities in North Korea in early November. A US official told CNN that Kenneth Bae, whose Korean name is Pae Jun Ho, is affiliated with a Protestant religious group.

Bae, 44, entered the northeastern port city of Rajin on November 3 along with five other tourists for a five-day trip. Rajin is a special economic zone across the border from the Chinese city of Yanji, where many Christian groups shelter North Korean refugees — something which angers the North Korean state considerably.

Bae was detained by North Korean authorities and questioned after a computer hard disk was found among the group of tourists, an unidentified source has said. The source added that the hard disk might have contained sensitive information about North Korea.

After his detention, Bae was transferred to Pyongyang for further investigation.

Last year, Eddie Yong Su Jun, a Korean-American missionary, was arrested and then released after facing indictment on charges of committing an unspecified crime against the regime.

In 2010, North Korea set free Robert Park, a Korean-American Christian activist who crossed into the country on Christmas Day 2009 to draw international attention to the North’s poor human rights record.

Also in 2010, former President Jimmy Carter helped secure the release of Aijalon Mahli Gomes, another U.S. citizen and Christian activist, who had been fined roughly $600,000 and sentenced to eight years of hard labor for crossing over the Chinese border into North Korea.

In 2009, former U.S. President Bill Clinton flew to Pyongyang to win the release of two American journalists caught during a reporting tour covering North Korean defectors.

Bae’s detention comes amid tensions over Pyongyang’s planned long-range rocket launch. Concerns have been raised that Pyongyang may try to use the case as a “bargaining chip” or a trump card in forcing the US into post-launch talks.


This entry was posted in , by Grant Montgomery.

11 references to “Who is Kenneth Bae and why is he being held by North Korea?

  1. […] told a media briefing at Beijing’s airport he was unable to meet Korean-American Kenneth Bae, a 44-year-old tourist who was detained late last year and has been charged with unspecified crimes […]

  2. […] Schmidt from Jan. 7-10. The much-trumpeted mission was partly aimed at negotiating the release of Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American tour operator who was arrested in November in the Rason economic zone. The […]

  3. […] Who is Pae Jun Ho? This entry was posted in DPRK Government, Humanitarian Aid and Relief, Prison Camps and tagged north korea, Pae Jun Ho by Grant Montgomery. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  4. […] U.S. citizen, Kenneth Bae, was sentenced 15 years of compulsory labor by the Supreme Court of the Democratic People’s […]

  5. […] Pae Jun Ho, known as Kenneth Bae by U.S. authorities, was found guilty in an April 30 trial of “hostile acts to bring down its government” and planning anti-North Korea religious activities, according to the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). […]

  6. […] 2009, North Korea has detained at least six Americans, then released them only after visits from prominent US dignitaries. Armstrong suspects that’s […]

  7. […] Marie Harf urged Pyongyang to pardon “as a humanitarian gesture” another American, Kenneth Bae, who has been held in the North for more than a […]

  8. […] has been slammed in particular for not using his influence with Kim to help free Kenneth Bae, an American missionary in poor health who is being confined in the North for “anti-state” crimes. In an […]

  9. […] missionary Kenneth Bae, who has been jailed in North Korea for more than a year, appeared before reporters Monday and […]

  10. […] The last surviving members of the U.S. Congress to have served in the Korean War have sent a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un asking him to release imprisoned American missionary Kenneth Bae. […]

  11. […] Kenneth Bae, a U.S. citizen who was detained in North Korea for two years before his release last November, plans to tell his story in a book. “Not Forgotten: The True Story of My Imprisonment in North Korea” will be released next spring. […]

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