For whatever reason, 21-year-old University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier decided to spend part of winter break in North Korea, but before he could make it home, he was arrested and detained at the Pyongyang airport as he was about to board.
Warmbier spent five days on a tour of Kim Jong Un’s country via an agency called Young Pioneer Tours. The agency has either never stepped foot in North Korea or is being paid off by Kim Jong Un himself, because their website refers to North Korea as “extremely safe.”
“Despite what you may hear, North Korea is probably one of the safest places on Earth to visit. Tourism is very welcomed in North Korea, thus tourists are cherished and well taken care of,” the travel agency says.
“We have never felt suspicious or threatened at any time. In fact, North Koreans are super friendly and accommodating, if you let them into your world. Even during tense political moments tourism to the DPRK is never affected,” the site said.
Of all the things I would call North Korea (but I won’t because I don’t want to be next on Kim Jong Un’s list), “extremely safe” is definitely last on that list. You know what’s safe? Iceland. Nothing happens there. Or Switzerland. Or maybe Denmark. Those all seem like quiet, nice places to visit.
Unfortunately for Warmbier, North Korea was actually not as safe as Young Pioneer Tour said. He was arrested before getting on his flight and has been detailed since January 2. Their reasoning? Warmbier had committed “hostile acts” against the country in an attempt to “destroy the country’s unity.” Yeah, this frat guy. Of all the people Kim Jong Un has pissed off, including the United States government, they chose to arrest and detain this guy who dresses in pastels and wears bowties.
Here’s what the official Korean Central News Agency had to say about the arrest, according to the Washington Post:
The brief statement gave no details about the accusations or the current status of the student.
Warmbier, it added, “was arrested while perpetrating a hostile act against the DPRK after entering it under the guise of tourist for the purpose of bringing down the foundation of its single-minded unity at the tacit connivance of the U.S. government and under its manipulation.”
There’s no word on when the North Korean government will let Warmbier go, but we hope it’s soon. .
[via Washington Post]
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