UK & World News

  • 8 February 2014, 15:50

Kenneth Bae Moved To North Korea Labour Camp

A Christian missionary imprisoned in North Korea for more than a year has been moved from hospital back to a labour camp.

Korean-American Kenneth Bae was arrested while leading a group of tourists in November 2012 and accused of crimes against the state.

The tour operator was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour. He has been in hospital since last summer after losing weight and experiencing kidney and liver problems.

His family said the father-of-three is seriously ill.

Mr Bae's daily routine at the camp, which he went back to last month, includes eight hours of manual labour which he claims is difficult because of chronic back pain.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: "We continue to urge DPRK authorities to grant Mr Bae special amnesty and immediate release on humanitarian grounds."

She added Washington was "gravely concerned" about the health of the 45-year-old, who is also known as Pae Jun-Ho.

President Barack Obama said on Thursday: "His family wants him home, and the United States will continue to do everything in our power to secure his release because Kenneth Bae deserves to be free."

In the interview, Mr Bae expressed gratitude to the North Korean authorities for treating him "humanely" and pleaded to be allowed to return home.

Mr Bae said he had been told by a Swedish diplomat that Robert King, US special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, planned to visit the country to discuss his case.

The Swedish embassy acts on Washington's behalf in the country because the US does not have diplomatic ties with North Korea.

Mr Bae confessed to taking part in anti-Government acts and apologised during a media appearance in January - a move seen as a prerequisite to his release.

He was born in South Korea and went to the US with his parents and sister in 1985. He later moved to China and began leading small tour groups, mostly of American and Canadian citizens.

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