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Iran Press TV

US student kidnapped to teach English to DPRK leader: Reports

Iran Press TV

Fri Sep 2, 2016 1:48PM

An American student who has been missing and presumed dead for 12 years after a trip to China, turned out to have been kidnapped and forced to teach English to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, reports say.

A South Korean activist organization made the revelation on Thursday, saying, David Sneddon, who was a 24-year-old university student at the time, vanished in August 2004 while hiking in southwest China's Yunnan Province, The Independent reported.

Choi Sun-yong, head of the Abductees' Family Union, said Sneddon had been kidnapped by North Korean agents and operatives, and worked as an English tutor for Kim, who was heir to the country's leadership at the time.

Chinese police told Sneddon's parents that he had drowned in a river while trekking but they never believed the story and kept searching for a dozen years due to the fact that Sneddon's body was never found.

"We just knew in our heart that he was alive, so we had to keep fighting," said Sneddon's mother, according to The Telegraph.

Twelve years on, the source said the abductee is now in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, has a North Korean wife with two children and teaches English at schools.

Reports said the US State Department also formally conducted an active search for Sneddon in North Korea following the revelation and that his parents hope the department can find justice for their son.

The then 24-year-old is not the first suspected victim of the alleged North Korean kidnappings.

The Japanese government claims that at least 17 of its citizens were abducted from Japan during the reign of North Korea's founder, Kim Il-Sung, between 1977 and 1983.

South Korea has also accused its northern neighbor of taking away some 3,800 people since the Korean War armistice was declared between the countries in 1953.

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