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Detained Canadian pastor admits to 'criminal acts' against North Korea

Hyeon Soo Lim appeared before Pyongyang-based correspondents and said he was guilty of anti-state crimes: publishing photos from inside North Korea.

By
Elizabeth Shim
Missing for several months in North Korea, detained Canadian pastor Hyeon Soo Lim appeared in Pyongyang on Thursday. Photo by Kyodo/Yonhap
Missing for several months in North Korea, detained Canadian pastor Hyeon Soo Lim appeared in Pyongyang on Thursday. Photo by Kyodo/Yonhap

SEOUL, July 30 (UPI) -- A Korean-Canadian pastor who was detained in North Korea in March appeared at a Pyongyang press conference Thursday and said he committed subversive anti-state activities.

Hyeon Soo Lim, founder of Light Presbyterian Church in Toronto, went missing at the end of January in North Korea and was later confirmed as detained by the Canadian government.

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Lim had traveled to North Korea more than 100 times to work on nursing homes and orphanages but went missing earlier this year.

On Thursday, Lim appeared before Pyongyang-based correspondents and said he was guilty of anti-state crimes, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

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Lim said before the press gathering that he used his own photographs taken in North Korea for a film titled The Reality of North Korea.

He said he showed the footage to his congregation in Canada and made it publicly available on the Internet.

"I frankly acknowledge that these are criminal acts," Lim said, according to Japan's Kyodo news agency.

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Lim said he was detained Feb. 2 in Pyongyang, a few days after traveling in the Rason Special Economic Zone in North Korea's northeast.

Around this time, his family and community assumed 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 in early March.

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South Korean outlet CBS No Cut News reported Lim began his North Korea trips in 1994 and continued to provide humanitarian aid during the country's period of famine in the mid to late-1990s.

Lim was planning to retire from the church in 2016 and pursue humanitarian work in North Korea full time, according to sources.

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