North Korea it has detained an American citizen after he supposedly confessed to unspecified crimes.
The American was identified as Pae Jun Ho in a brief dispatch issued by the state-run Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang. News reports in the U.S. and South Korea said Pae is known in his home state of Washington as Kenneth Bae, a 44-year-old tour operator of Korean descent.
An expert said he is likely to become a bargaining chip for the North, an attempt to draw the U.S. into talks. Five other Americans known to have been detained in North Korea since 2009 were all eventually released…
The operator of a Korean language website for the Korean community in the Northwest, Chong Tae Kim of JoySeattle.com, said the detainee’s father lives in Korea and his mother lives in Lynnwood, Washington.
“She hopes the State Department and Swedish Embassy help with his release,” he said Friday. “She’s trying not to speak to reporters, fearing that could affect her son’s release.”