A Canadian pastor has failed to return from North Korea after a humanitarian visit to the country, according to a church official. Reverend Hyeon Soo Lim, 60, journeyed to North Korea on January 31 and was due to travel back on February 4.
Reverend Lim has been to North Korea on multiple occasions, though this is the longest amount of time he has been out of contact. North Korea has detained foreign nationals on multiple occasions, most of whom come to the country for religious activity -which is restricted in North Korea. Typically, U.S. citizens are held the most and for the longest. U.S. officials speculate that this is to take political concessions.
Foreign nationals of less of a political importance to the country are usually freed in a quicker manner. In February 2014, Pyongyang detained an Australian church official for putting Christian flyers in a tourist site; he was released just a few days afterwards. Canadian church officials said they are inquiring whether Reverend Lim may have been detained for a 21-day quarantine that North Korea mandates for travelers that may have been exposed to Ebola.
By Alex Lemieux
Photo by Zennie Abraham – Flickr License