North Korea presents detained American student to media

PYONGYANG, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of -- North Korea presented a detained American student before the media on Monday in Pyongyang, where he acknowledged and apologized for attempting to steal a political banner -- at the behest, he said, of a member of a church who wanted it as a "trophy" -- from a staff-only section of the hotel where he had been staying.

See Full Article

North Korea announced late last month it had arrested Otto Warmbier, a 21-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student. It said that after entering the country as a tourist he conducted an anti-state crime with "the tacit connivance of the U.S. government and under its manipulation."

No details of what kind of charges or punishment Warmbier faces were immediately released.

According to Warmbier's statement Monday, he wanted the banner with a political slogan on it as a trophy for the church member, who was the mother of a friend.

In previous cases, people who have been detained in North Korea and given a public confession often recant those admissions after their release.

He was arrested while visiting the country with Young Pioneer Tours, an agency specializing in travel to the North, which is strongly discouraged by the U.S. State Department. He had been staying at the Yanggakdo International Hotel, which is located on an island in a river that runs through Pyongyang.

It is common for sections of tourist hotels to be reserved for North Korean staff and off-limits to foreigners.

Warmbier is a native of Ohio, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, while campaigning in New Hampshire as a Republican presidential candidate, called the arrest "inexcusable." Kasich has urged President Barack Obama to "make every effort to secure Mr. Warmbier's immediate release and keep (his) family constantly apprised."

Kasich said North Korea should either provide evidence of the alleged anti-state activities or release Warmbier.

In his comments, Warmbier said he was offered a used car worth $10,000 by a member of the church. He said the church member told him the slogan would be hung on its wall as a trophy. He also said he was told that if he was detained and not returned, $200,000 would be paid to his mother in a way of charitable donations.

He said he accepted the offer because his family is "suffering from very severe financial difficulties."

"I started to consider this as my only golden opportunity to earn money," he said, adding that if he ever mentioned the involvement of the church, "no payments would come."

North Korea regularly accuses Washington and Seoul of sending spies to overthrow its government to enable the U.S.-backed South Korean government to control the Korean Peninsula. Some foreigners previously arrested in the North have read statements of guilt that they later said were coerced.


Latest Canada & World News

  • Judges in Alta. custody case ordered boy not to wear girls clothes in public

    Canada News CTV News
    MEDICINE HAT, Alta. -- A gender identity expert says judges need more education after two Alberta family court judges ruled a child born a boy can't wear girls clothes in public. Kris Wells, with the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta, says the case shows some judges need their attitudes challenged and corrected. Source
  • Liberals to bring Yazidi survivors of ISIS genocide to Canada within 4 months

    Canada News CBC News
    The federal government is committing to take urgent steps to bring Yazidi refugees to Canada within four months. Immigration, Refugees and CItizenship Minister John McCallum announced during question period today that Liberals will support a wide-ranging motion from the Opposition Conservatives to help survivors of ISIS genocide. Source
  • Dog trapped in well for almost a month showing strong will to live: vet school

    Canada News CTV News
    SASKATOON -- A chocolate Labrador retriever trapped in a well for almost a month is responding to special care from animal medical clinicians and a nutritionist. Seven-year-old Bruno is listed as stable in the intensive care unit at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon. Source
  • Alberta taps climate change fund to help farmers reduce CO2 emissions

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- Alberta is tapping into its industrial carbon levy fund to help the farm sector reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The province says it will spend $10 million to expand existing programs that encourage producers to use energy efficient equipment and solar power. Source
  • Woman dies after allegedly throwing herself onto highway to escape abusive husband

    World News Toronto Sun
    An Oklahoma mother of five hurled herself out of a moving car allegedly to escape her abusive husband, friends say. Brianne King, 33, was riding in the passenger’s seat of a vehicle being driven by her husband Michael Muller, when police suspect she opened the vehicle door and threw herself onto a busy highway last Tuesday, according to local station KFOR-TV. Source
  • Why one piece of evidence mattered so much in Dennis Oland murder case

    Canada News CTV News
    From the earliest days in Dennis Oland's murder trial, the Crown faced an uphill battle to convince jurors that a precarious balance of circumstantial evidence added up to a guilty verdict. Nonetheless, in December jurors found the member of the clan that owns Moosehead Breweries guilty of the second-degree murder of his father, as family members wept loudly in the Saint John courtroom. Source
  • Teens arrested after students beaten, horse punched at Philadelphia university

    World News CTV News
    Philadelphia police say they've arrested four teens on assault charges in flash mob attacks around Temple University in which college students were beaten, an officer was knocked down and a police horse was punched in the face. Source
  • Protesters occupying Muskrat Falls site putting themselves at risk: Nalcor

    Canada News CTV News
    MUSKRAT FALLS, N.L. -- The Crown corporation in charge of the Muskrat Falls megaproject says it is worried about the safety of protesters who broke into the sprawling construction site on the weekend. Stan Marshall, CEO of Nalcor Energy, issued a statement today saying about 50 protesters entered the Labrador site Saturday and occupied an accommodation complex, prompting the company to remove about 700 workers from the grounds. Source
  • South African opposition says ICC withdrawal is illegal

    World News CTV News
    JOHANNESBURG -- South Africa's main opposition party on Monday tried to block a government plan to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, saying the move is illegal and that the country's top court should intervene. Source
  • Suspect in Oklahoma cop shooting posts taunting video online

    World News Toronto Sun
    OKLAHOMA CITY - Authorities are hunting for a man suspected of killing his aunt and uncle, shooting two police officers, stealing a patrol car and carjacking other vehicles in a violent rampage in the Oklahoma City area, all while apparently taunting law enforcement via social media. Source