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Canadian national detained in North Korea

Pastor who had visited North Korea more than 100 times on humanitarian mission was detained, Canadian officials said.

By Elizabeth Shim
Canadian national detained in North Korea
Canadian officials confirmed Hyeon Soo Lim, a Canadian national, has been detained by North Korea's government. No reasons were given for his detention. Courtesy of Light Presbyterian Church, Toronto

TORONTO, March 5 (UPI) -- A Korean Canadian pastor who had visited North Korea more than 100 times has been detained by North Korea, the Canadian government confirmed to his family Thursday.

Hyeon Soo Lim, founder of Light Presbyterian Church in Toronto, went missing at the end of January. For days, his family and community waited, quietly assuming Lim was under North Korea's 21-day quarantine, part of the country's strict border measures against the Ebola epidemic.

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The quarantine was lifted on Mar. 4, according to various North Korea tour operators.

Canada's The Globe and Mail reported a South Korean pastor was speculating whether Lim's past acquaintance with executed North Korean figure Jang Song Thaek could be the reason for taking the Canadian citizen into custody.

Rev. Chun Ki-Won, a longtime acquaintance of Lim's, said Lim "used to work with Jang Song Thaek and his line of people."

Jang, an uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was accused of trying to destabilize the regime in 2013.

Lim's work was always humanitarian in nature, reported South Korean television network YTN.

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Since the 1990s, Lim traveled to support the creation of childcare centers and schools.

In his most recent trip Lim went to begin work on nursing homes and orphanages.

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