North Korea Confirms It Arrested an American

Pyongyang confirms detention of accounting teacher Kim Sang-duk
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2017 6:26 AM CDT
North Korea: American Was Trying to 'Subvert' Regime
This image made from video shows the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, where the newly detained American taught.   (AP Photo)

North Korea on Wednesday confirmed that it detained another American last month, and the reason is the usual one it gives in such cases: It accuses Kim Sang-duk, who also goes by his American name of Tony Kim, of working to "subvert the country," reports Reuters. Kim, believed to be his 50s, was arrested at the airport on April 22 after a month-long stint teaching accounting at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, per the New York Times. He teaches the same at a sister school in China. A PUST spokesman says Kim's wife, who was with Kim when he was arrested, was allowed to return to the US. (It's not clear where the Kims reside permanently, though a post at says he worked as an accountant in Los Angeles years ago.)

"Invited to Pyongyang University of Science and Technology to teach accounting as a professor, he was intercepted for committing criminal acts of hostility aimed to overturn the DPRK not only in the past but also during his last stay before interception," says the state-run KCNA news agency, using the acronym for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Kim reportedly also worked at orphanages in the North. The two other Americans in custody are Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old student, and Kim Dong Chul, a 62-year-old missionary. Both are serving long prison sentences. (President Trump raised the idea of meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un amid tense relations between the countries.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.