A student from the University of Virginia was arrested in North Korea, accused of a “hostile act”.
The arrest happened on January 2 in the Pyongyang Airport as Otto Warmbier, a 21-year-old from Cincinnati, Ohio was going through customs, according to Young Pioneer Tours (the company that organized his trip).
According to news reports, Warmbier was questioned about an incident that took place at his hotel and then he was taken to the hospital while the rest of his group flew home.
Little information is available and actually his detainment just made the news last week. The Korean Central News Agency announced the arrest of Warmbier saying he was “caught committing a hostile act against the state.”
According to a statement from Young Pioneer Tours, “Our guide was informed by an airport official that (Warmbier) had been taken to hospital. Our guide attempted to go back to see him, but was unable to as she had been ushered through immigration by airport staff.”
The group’s chief executive officer stayed in North Korea to see what happened. He stayed in Pyongyang for a few days and then returned to China when nothing could be done.
The Swedish Embassy and the U.S. Department of State are working closely with Warmbier’s family to resolve the issue.
The alleged incident happened at the Yanggakdo International Hotel, where Warmbier stayed for five days. According to members of the group, nothing out of the ordinary happened and he behaved like any other tourist. But according to North Korea media, Warmbier entered the country “for the purpose of bringing down the foundation of its single-minded unity at the tacit connivance of the U.S. government.”
Warmbier is a junior, commerce major at the University of Virginia and since he is originally from Ohio, the state’s governor addressed his arrest in a Tweet.
North Korea’s arrest of an Ohio college student is inexcusable & he should be released & returned immediately. https://t.co/nfvkCwT4iB
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) January 22, 2016
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