North Korea sends South Korean Baptist missionary to labor camp

The life sentence is considered harsher than the North’s previous punishments of alleged Christian workers.

By ABPnews/Herald staff

North Korea has sentenced a South Korean Baptist missionary to a labor camp for life for allegedly spying and for trying to build underground churches in the country, according to several news reports.

The missionary, Kim Jong-uk, was convicted at a trial last Friday but the sentence was announced Saturday.

Kim — whose name also has been transliterated as Kim Jung Wook — is said to be about 50 and has been held in the North since October. His sentence is more severe than punishment given to other missionaries who have been detained by North Korea in recent years.

Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American missionary, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor after he was caught in the North in late 2012. But John Short, a 75-year-old Australian missionary, was released earlier this year after being arrested for alleged Christian work.

The Los Angeles Times quoted North Korean state media saying that Kim “sincerely repented of his crimes and apologized for them.” The state media said that an expert produced “evidence such as religious books, memory cards, sex CDs and spying devices carried by the accused for criminal purposes.”