North Korea May Have a Missionary in Custody

North Korea May Have a Missionary in Custody

SEOUL, South Korea — The chief pastor from a Korean church in suburban Toronto who failed to return home from a humanitarian mission to North Korea is reportedly being held by the government there.

The pastor, Rev. Lim Hyeon-soo, 60, who has visited North Korea many times, lost contact with his church Jan. 31 after entering the North in late January, Lisa Pak, a spokeswoman for the Light Korean Presbyterian Church said on its website.

Caitlin Workman, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Foreign Affairs and Trade Department, said Thursday that the department was “aware of a Canadian citizen detained in North Korea.” She added that consular officials had been in contact with the person’s family and that they were assisting, though Canada’s effort was restricted in nature.

“As there is no resident Canadian government office in the country, the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular assistance is extremely limited,” Ms. Workman said.

North Korea has detained several foreigners in recent years, accusing a number of them of proselytism.

Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American missionary, was detained in North Korea in late 2012. He was later sentenced to 15 years of hard labor on charges of trying to establish a secret proselytism network in the isolated country as part of a plot to undermine its political system.

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