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North Korea says released Australian student was spying

16 Comments
By Kim Tong-Hyung

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16 Comments
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Living, working and studying in North Korea means playing with fire. I just can't understand why anyone would do it.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

On the one hand I feel that there is no truth too small for the North Korean authorities to feel threatened by. On the other hand I feel that he might have been an easy target for authorities who feel they need to offer up some imagined spy every once in a while to ensure their survival.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

he went to Tokyo to reunite with his Japanese wife, who he married in Pyongyang last year.

Right.

Got it.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

"Spying" is such a nebulous concept.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

At this point, isn't everyone who isn't "Dear Leader" a spy in NK?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

"Spying" in the sense of walking through a city, looking at things, taking an interest, telling people who'll never go there what it's like. Restaurant suggestions, street fashion notes, that kind of spying. Only something for an utterly paranoid regime to worry about.

On the other hand I feel that he might have been an easy target for authorities who feel they need to offer up some imagined spy every once in a while to ensure their survival.

I think you might be on to something there, buddy.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Very fortunate man. I hope he realises how lucky he was to have been released so quickly and will never go back there again. Spying seems to be a much more serious charge than stealing a propaganda poster, and we know how that latter allegation ended....

4 ( +5 / -1 )

We still don't know exactly what he was photographing, why or for what purpose. For what were the photos and information going to be used?  To what organisations were they being supplied?

I don't think we have the full story yet.

After spending so much time in NK, one would assume what was and what was not allowed. All countries have buildings and facilities which one cannot photograph.

I was once prohibited from taking photos near a military facility in Hawaii. In Australia, one cannot take photos of Pine Gap.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I was once prohibited from taking photos near a military facility in Hawaii. In Australia, one cannot take photos of Pine Gap.

But you can find extensive images of Pine Gap on Google Earth.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Go to North Korea! Become a vegetable while you're there!

Why do people still have this itching desire to go to N. Korea? They don't want you there and the vast majority of us don't want you there either.

As for spying, just ask the late master spy Otto Warmbier what constitutes spying in N. Korea.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

stormcrow: "Why do people still have this itching desire to go to N. Korea?"

Good question that I struggled with not too long ago.

My daughter was on at me about how she wanted to go there. We looked at Kim Jong-Un's palace on Google earth. Her circle of friends were all of the same opinion. To go there and see something different? With her own eyes? An element of danger? A touch of left-wing? Disillusion with the Western press? Make up her own mind? I guess it must be one of the few places left on earth where you can come back and claim bragging rights on Instagram etc.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

PS ... where you can maybe come back...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@nandakandamanda

Thanks for sharing that story. I'd be pulling my hair out if one of my kids was seriously planning on going there for some sightseeing.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The safest thing to do if you go there, is to bow towards the giant statues when instructed, and keep your eyes firmly shut, lest you be accused of looking in the wrong direction.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It is reasonable to assume that being silent is part of the deal that got him released. I see no reason for the claim that he was a "spy", as any foreigner in NK sticks out like the proverbial nail. More likely he offended someone with power in the regime.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I was once prohibited from taking photos near a military facility in Hawaii. In Australia, one cannot take photos of Pine Gap.

The USA has clear laws about photography.

https://www.aclu.org/issues/free-speech/photographers-rights

Taking photographs and video of things that are plainly visible in public spaces is a constitutional right—and that includes transportation facilities, the outside of federal buildings, and police and other government officials carrying out their duties.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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