Skip to main content

South Korea arrests activist after he visits North Korea

By K.J. Kwon, CNN
July 5, 2012 -- Updated 1441 GMT (2241 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Roh Su-hui went to North Korea to mark the 100-day anniversary of Kim Jong Il's death
  • He is likely to be charged under the National Security Law, a police official said
  • Tensions remain high between the two countries

(CNN) -- A South Korean left-wing activist was arrested Thursday for an unauthorized visit to North Korea, a South Korean national police official said.

Roh Su-hui, a leader with an organization close to North Korea, was taken into custody as he crossed back into South Korea after three months, the official said.

Roh visited Pyongyang to commemorate the 100th day since the death of the country's late leader, Kim Jong Il, according to KCNA, North Korea's official news agency. KCNA called his visit "a righteous deed in view of traditional beautiful manners" and urged the South not to arrest him.

Nevertheless, he was immediately arrested for illegal entry and glorifying his country's political rival.

South Korea: Free speech not so free?
Basketball diplomacy in North Korea

He walked across the two countries' heavily guarded border in the demilitarized zone and was brought in for questioning, according to an official from the South's National Police Agency who refused to be named in line with Korean policy.

So far, he has refused to speak about his visit, the official said. Authorities will be interrogating him and will likely charge him under the National Security Law (NSL) within two days, the official told CNN.

The NSL was designed to protect the state against North Korean propaganda and to prosecute spies. It was used widely during the years of military dictatorship in the 1970s and '80s.

"Roh Su-hui's illegal entry to North Korea and his slandering of the South's government and praising of the North is an illegal act. Upon Roh Su-hui's return, he will be investigated on the purpose of his visit and his whereabouts in the North and will be strictly dealt with in according to relevant law," Unification Ministry spokeswoman Park Soo-jin said in a regular briefing Wednesday.

North Korea claims that "the South is using Roh's return as a pretext for eliminating the progressive pro-reform forces."

South Korea did not send any representatives to the North after Kim's death. Tension between the two countries remains high since North Korea's shelling attack on a South Korean island in 2010 and the sinking of a South Korean warship in a torpedo attack blamed on the North.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT)
Experts warn that under Kim Jong Un's rule, Pyongyang has shown an even greater willingness to raise the stakes than before.
March 18, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
China and North Korea criticize a U.N. report that found crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1205 GMT (2005 HKT)
Megumi Yokota was only 13 when she was abducted by a North Korean agent in the 1970s. What happened after that?
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 0430 GMT (1230 HKT)
Report: North Korea uses multiple techniques to defy sanctions, and shows no signs of abandoning its nuclear missile programs.
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 0817 GMT (1617 HKT)
Families torn apart for more than 60 years -- separated by the Korean War -- began to reunite at a mountain resort in North Korea Thursday.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
A stunning catalog of torture and the widespread abuse of even the weakest of North Koreans reveal a portrait of a brutal state, the UN reported.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 0431 GMT (1231 HKT)
Former prisoners in North Korea describe horrific stories of being tortured by authorities.
February 14, 2014 -- Updated 1527 GMT (2327 HKT)
Skiing is not the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about the isolated nation, but North Korea's ski resort is world class.
February 8, 2014 -- Updated 0315 GMT (1115 HKT)
American Kenneth Bae, who is being held in North Korea, has been moved from a hospital to a labor camp.
January 8, 2014 -- Updated 0213 GMT (1013 HKT)
Why is he being held by North Korea in a prison camp? These are the questions for many since his arrest in the isolated country in 2012.
January 27, 2014 -- Updated 0818 GMT (1618 HKT)
The first time the South Korean factory owner watched his North Korean employees nibble on a Choco Pie, they appeared shocked.
January 8, 2014 -- Updated 0126 GMT (0926 HKT)
Dennis Rodman's "Big Bang in Pyongyang" may be in a league of its own, but other stars too have mixed with repressive regimes before.
December 19, 2013 -- Updated 1800 GMT (0200 HKT)
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman arrives in North Korea to train basketball players, state-run media reports.
December 18, 2013 -- Updated 0250 GMT (1050 HKT)
The nation held a memorial in the honor of former North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il on the second anniversary of his death.
December 13, 2013 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
Days after he was removed from his powerful military post, Jang Song Thaek was called a traitor and executed.
ADVERTISEMENT