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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

North Korea Sentences Christian Missionary to 10 Years Hard Labor

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2016 May 02
  • Comments

A U.S. citizen and missionary has been arrested in North Korea and sentenced to 10 years hard labor.


According to, Kim Dong Chul, a 62-year-old missionary and naturalized U.S. citizen from Virginia, was accused of being a spy for South Korea.


North Korea’s state news agency KCNA reported: "The accused confessed to all crimes he had committed and gathered and offered information on its party, state and military affairs to the South Korean puppet regime, which are tantamount to state subversive plots and espionage," according to Reuters.


Those who are taken prisoner in North Korea are often forced to confess to assisting enemy governments, even if they are innocent.


Dong Chul was originally arrested in October when a couple people recognized him as a missionary they had seen talk on U.S. television about the missionary work he was doing in North Korea.


Dong Chul has reached out to both the U.S. and South Korea for help. 


North Korea is thought to be keeping as many as 70,000 Christians imprisoned in hard labor camps, with at least six of these prisoners being foreigners.


The country was ranked as persecution charity Open Doors’ top most hostile place for Christians in the recent year. About 300,000 of North Korea’s 25.3 population are thought to be Christians.



Publication date: May 2, 2016