North Korea sentenced a South Korean-born American citizen to 10 years of hard labour for subversion and espionage, a North Korean official told journalists.
Kim Dong Chul is the second American that North Korea has given a hard labour sentence in the past two months.
In March, University of Virginia student Otto Frederick Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour for allegedly removing a political banner from a Pyongyang hotel.
Kim said he moved to Yanji, a Chinese city near the Chinese-North Korean border that acts as a trade hub between the two countries, in 2001. From Yanji, Kim said he commuted daily to Rason, a special economic zone on the North Korean side of the border, where he served as president of a company involved in international trade and hotel services.
According to Kim, he spied on behalf of “South Korean conservative elements” on the country’s nuclear and military program.
“I was tasked with taking photos of military secrets and ‘scandalous’ scenes,” he said at the time.
“They asked me to help destroy the (North Korean) system and spread propaganda against the government.”
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Kim’s comments to the media in January were made in the presence of North Korean officials and the media cannot determine whether they were made under duress.
Like Kim, Warmbier also gave a confession to international media. North Korea accuses of the student of taking the banner at the urging of a church member, the CIA and a secretive university organisation. (CNN)