Pyongyang [North Korea]: Alek Sigley, the Australian student who was released by the North Korean government earlier this week, was “spying” in the reclusive communist country and repeatedly asked for pardon after admitting that he was doing “anti-state” activities, state media said on Saturday.
Sigley, a 29-year-old university student in Pyongyang, was reported missing late last month after his parents had expressed concerns about his whereabouts. However, he was released on Thursday and left the country for Japan on the same day.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) claimed that Sigley had passed on information and photographs on the domestic situation to the NK News and other anti-DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) media and was detained by authorities on June 25, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.
“Alek Sigley was caught red-handed committing anti-DPRK incitement through the internet,” the KCNA said while referring to North Korea’s official name.
Sigley admitted “his spying acts of systematically collecting and offering data about the domestic situation of the DPRK” and repeatedly asked for pardon, it added.
Sigley had been studying for masters in North Korean literature at Kim ll-sung University and was running a tourism firm in Pyongyang. He is fluent in Korean and Chinese, apart from English.
The Australian government had taken Sweden’s help in negotiating his release as the country does not have a diplomatic presence in North Korea. Both countries have now warned Sigley against returning to the communist nation.
Sigley, believed to be the only Australian living and studying in North Korea, had married his Japanese wife, Yuka Morinaga, in Pyongyang last year.
After reuniting with his wife in Tokyo, Sigley thanked all those who facilitated his return and said he intends to return to his normal life soon.