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North Korea detains University of Virginia student for 'hostile act'

By Amy R. Connolly   |   Jan. 22, 2016 at 5:40 AM

SEOUL, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- North Korean authorities said they arrested a U.S. college student accused of carrying a "hostile act" against the country, state media reported.

Otto Frederick Warmbier, who reportedly traveled to North Korea using a tourist visa, is accused of entering the country "for the purpose of bringing down the foundation of its single-minded unity at the tacit connivance of the U.S. government and under its manipulation." Warmbier is a third-year commerce student at the University of Virginia and a member of Theta Chi fraternity.

Young Pioneer Tours, a foreign tour agency, confirmed Warmbier had been detained in Pyongyang. The company said his family has been notified and "we are in contact with the Swedish Embassy, [which acts as the protecting interest for U.S. citizens], who are working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to address the case."

"We are also assisting the U.S. Department of State closely with regards to the situation. In the meantime we would appreciate Otto's and his family's privacy being respected and we hope his release can be secured as soon as possible," the company said.

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