Report: China arrests four Christian missionaries near North Korea border

By Elizabeth Shim  |  Feb. 10, 2017 at 9:42 PM
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Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Chinese authorities recently arrested four Christian missionaries near the North Korea border, but reasons for their arrest were not provided.

A local resident in Yanji, a city in the Yanbian region of Jilin Province, said the arrests were made at a hotel in the town on Thursday, Radio Free Asia reported.

All four missionaries appear to be of Korean descent, but carried different passports.

One missionary identified as Pastor Park Won-cheol is a man in his fifties.

A U.S. citizen, Park's whereabouts are being confirmed by the U.S. embassy in China, the source said.

Other missionaries include a South Korea passport holder with the surname Kim. The man is in his thirties.

Two Chinese nationals were also detained.

Park, the American, had been traveling frequently to China "for years," the source said.

"Park flew to China from South Korea last week," said the source. "On Feb. 9, at 10:30 a.m., immediately before he was to travel to Yanji airport to board a plane to return to South Korea, he was arrested at his hotel after a raid."

A second source told RFA one missionary of Chinese nationality was sentenced to 15 years in a North Korea prison, after being kidnapped by Pyongyang's state security agents on Nov. 1, 2014.

North Korean agents who crossed the border killed another Chinese citizen, Han Chungryeol, on April 30, 2016, while he was aiding North Korean refugees, the source said.

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