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South Korean held captive in North Korea for 40 years escapes

Sept. 13, 2013 at 10:08 AM

SEOUL, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- A South Korean man abducted by North Korea 40 years ago while working on a fishing boat has returned to his home country, a government official said Friday.

Jeon Wook-pyo, 68, was among 25 fishermen aboard two boats -- the Five Oceans No. 61 and No. 62 -- who were abducted by North Korea Dec. 28, 1972, off South Korea's west coast.

Jeon escaped North Korea and was hiding in an undisclosed third country when he sent a letter to South Korean President Park Geun-hye, asking for help in returning home, Yonhap news agency reported.

"I took a chance to escape the North because I had a growing wish to spend the rest of my life with my relatives and brothers at home," Jeon wrote in the letter.

A government official, whose name wasn't reported, said "Jeon is now undergoing questioning."

Those abducted by the North are often used for propaganda or for intelligence gathering, Yonhap said.