7 Jun 2014

Tourist detained for leaving bible

8:53 am on 7 June 2014

North Korea says it has detained an American tourist for what it calls 'hostile activities' after he reportedly left a bible at his hotel.

The official Korean Central News Agency said Jeffrey Fowle was being questioned by authorities for violating visa regulations.

It said he entered the country as a tourist on 29 April and 'acted in violation of North Korean law, contrary to the purpose of tourism during his stay'.

The Japanese news agency Kyodo, citing diplomatic sources, said Mr Fowle had been part of a tour group and was held in mid-May after he left a bible at the hotel he was staying at.

The report said he was about to leave the country.

Mr Fowle is the third American citizen known to be detained by the North.

The two others include American tourist Matthew Todd Miller, who was arrested in April after he apparently ripped up his visa at immigration and demanded asylum in the communist state.

Kenneth Bae, described by a North Korean court as a militant Christian evangelist, is also being held in the North after he was arrested in November 2012 and sentenced to 15 years' hard labour on charges of seeking to topple the government.

US efforts to secure Bae's release have so far been unsuccessful.