Toronto pastor detained in North Korea makes first appearance, admits guilt
WATCH ABOVE: Reverend Hyeon Soo Lim read a statement Thursday.
PYONYANG – Authorities in Pyongyang on Thursday organised the first appearance of a Canadian man detained in North Korea since early this year.
Reverend Hyeon Soo Lim appeared at the People’s Palace of Culture, a venue where North Korean authorities have arranged similar events in the past.
“The most serious crimes I have committed are that I severely slandered and impaired the supreme dignity and system of this country and perpetrated a scheme to overthrow the state,” Lim told a packed room.
He had travelled to North Korea on 31 January and was scheduled to leave on 4 February.
Lim is a pastor at the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto.
“In order to create the impression that it is God, and not the Worker’s Party and this country’s government which give things to eat and provide means to live, we intentionally drew the cross and wrote the name of the church and bible phrases on the sacks of provisions that were donated to several parts of the country such as Chongjin and Jagang Province,” he continued. “The purpose that I travelled about several parts of the country on the pretext of “aid” was to build a base to overthrow the system of the country and create a religious state, taking advantage of the policies of the US and South Korean authorities.”
“The basic purpose that I was so active in the (provision of) aid to this country in the past was to remove loyalty in the hearts of the North Korean people to their authorities. I deeply, deeply apologise from my heart, for my indescribable treason.”
Church officials confirmed that he was missing in early March this year.
Other foreigners detained in North Korea have said after their release that North Korean authorities coached or coerced them to make statements or sign confessions.
© 2015 The Canadian Press