Found Safe North Korea - Alek Sigley, 29, Australian student, Pyongyang, June 2019

Discussion in 'Located Persons Discussion' started by JerseyGirl, Jun 27, 2019.

  1. JerseyGirl

    JerseyGirl Staff Member Staff Member Forum Coordinators

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    Alek Sigley, who speaks fluent Korean, began studying for a master's degree in Korean literature at Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang last year.

    He is believed to be the only Australian living in North Korea and the ABC understands friends of Mr Sigley reported him missing earlier this week.

    Mr Sigley grew up in Perth and attended Rossmoyne Senior High School, before attending the Australian National University in Canberra and moving overseas to continue his studies.

    He is the founder of Tongil Tours, an Australian-based company specialising in guided tours to North Korea since 2013.

    Disappearance of only Australian living in North Korea sparks 'urgent' search

    [​IMG]
     
  2. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    Alek Sigley: a prolific social media user now missing in North Korea
    ‘The only Australian living in North Korea’ Alek Sigley was prolific social media user before he went missing
    • The Australian student was known for posting about his colourful life inside the secretive nation. But if his detention is confirmed, it would add him to a long list of foreigners whose fascination with North Korea landed them in hot water"
    "Alek Sigley’s last post on Twitter was of North Korea’s Ryugyong Hotel, a pyramid-shaped glass building known as the “Hotel of Doom” for the numerous problems rumoured to have plagued its construction.

    The tweet, posted on Monday, garnered no shortage of attention, with 100 retweets and more than a dozen comments. Like many millennials, the 29-year-old Australian could boast a bona fide social media following of more than 4,000 people – the only difference being he was tweeting from inside the most reclusive and authoritarian regime on earth."
     
  3. GraceG

    GraceG Well-Known Member

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    North Korea does NOT like photos being published that aren't closely monitored and approved. I'm afraid he got in hot water with the locals.
     
  4. PastTense

    PastTense Well-Known Member

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    "Fears are growing that North Korea has detained an Australian student living in Pyongyang, potentially complicating efforts among some Group of 20 nations to get Kim Jong Un's regime back to nuclear talks. Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it's investigating reports that North Korean authorities have detained Alek Sigley, who runs tours for foreign students and submits social media posts about the country. His family said his detention hasn't been confirmed...

    "It's likely that a small action could have been considered a 'mistake' and he has been arrested as a measure of punishment," Choi Soon-mi, a professor on North Korean Studies at Ajou University's Institute for Unification near Seoul, said in a phone interview. "He is an Australian national, and not a US citizen -- so unlike Warmbier, it's unlikely that Sigley will be used by the North Korean regime" as a diplomatic tool, she said.

    South Korea's foreign ministry released a statement Thursday saying it's "monitoring the situation, but there is nothing for our government to comment at this point."

    Australian Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, who is in Osaka attending this weekend's summit along with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, told reporters the lack of a consulate in North Korea meant Australia's South Korean embassy has reached out to officials in the insular Asian nation."

    Fears grow for Australian student Alek Sigley missing in North Korea
     
  5. Darling136

    Darling136 Staff member Staff Member Forum Coordinators

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    Mystery as Facebook page of Aussie man 'arrested in North Korea' suddenly reappears
     
  6. LadyL

    LadyL Well-Known Member

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    how terrifying
    I don't have much hope he'll be found alive or able to function
     
  7. JerseyGirl

    JerseyGirl Staff Member Staff Member Forum Coordinators

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    Alek Sigley, one of only a handful of Western students in the secretive country, has been missing for several days. His family had taken down his social media accounts earlier to prevent unnecessary speculation online.

    Sigley's Facebook page reappeared overnight on Saturday, but it is not known who reinstated it or why. It had disappeared again by 2pm Sydney time on Saturday.

    His Twitter account is still online and members of the public have posted messages of support there.

    Mystery over Facebook page of missing Aussie
     
  8. Elainera

    Elainera Well-Known Member

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    A special envoy from Sweden has arrived in North Korea on behalf of the Australian Government for potential discussions about missing Perth man, tour guide Alek Sigley.

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison today prayed for the 29-year-old at a church service in Canberra, ahead of the opening of Federal Parliament.

    Mr Morrison also today confirmed Australia is working through the Swedish Government’s envoy because the Coalition does not have an embassy in North Korea.

    Mr Morrison’s message also come after discussions at the G20 summit in Osaka turned to Mr Sigley over the weekend and the Prime Minister spoke to the tour guide’s family.

    Alek Sigley disappearance: Swedish envoy in North Korea for possible talks about missing Australian
     
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  9. Lilibet

    Lilibet Watching and Waiting

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    Whyyyyy does anyone take that kind of risk???!!!!
     
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  10. Elainera

    Elainera Well-Known Member

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    Alek Sigley, the 29-year-old student missing in North Korea, “did everything right” during his time in the country, says one of Australia’s leading authorities on the secretive state.

    Perth USAsia Centre chief executive Gordon Flake says the fact no one has heard from the Australian for more than a week may be for reasons other than him being detained by the regime.

    Fears for Mr Sigley have grown since his wife, Yuka Morinaga, last spoke to him on Tuesday last week. The Department of Foreign Affairs has been unable to confirm his whereabouts.

    A North Asia expert and Korean speaker who has made eight trips to the North, Mr Flake says answers from North Korea about Mr Sigley’s whereabouts may have been delayed as officials focused on the sudden meeting on Sunday between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

    “It’s not surprising if the answer by North Korea’s Foreign Affairs counterparts is a bit slow in coming,” he said. “Until we know the circumstances, caution is the better part of valour.”

    He said the reasons for Mr Sigley’s disappearance could include a simple car accident. Alternatively, anyone operating a business in North Korea could fall foul of authorities or corruption allegations by partners. Mr Sigley set up his own study tour business, Tongil Tours, with North Korean partners in 2013.

    “What doesn’t make sense to me is the notion that somehow he’s there as a spy or is subversive,” he said. “Nothing I’ve seen would lead me to believe that, or that North Koreans woke up one day and said ‘we’re going to find ourselves a new hostage’. There’s plenty of others they could go for. Why kill the goose that’s working on your behalf?”

    He said he had read Mr Sigley’s favourable posts about life in North Korea, most recently as a graduate student studying Korean literature at a university in Pyongyang.

    “By all accounts, Alek Sigley wasn’t doing high-risk activity … He’s well-informed and has gone into North Korea with eyes wide open, and seemed to be doing everything right.

    NoCookies | The Australian
     
  11. Elainera

    Elainera Well-Known Member

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    SAFE!!


    Australian Alek Sigley who went missing in North Korea last week has been "released and safe", Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said.

    It comes after a meeting between officials from the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang and the North Korean government.

    ...

    It is not known why the student, a fluent Korean speaker, had been detained.

    The news of his release was first reported by specialist website NK News which said he was safely in China and would travel on to Japan .

    "I'm ok, yeah, I'm good, I'm very good," Mr Sigley is seen saying on footage reportedly showing his arrival in Beijing, according to Australian media.

    _107739048_hi055081368.jpg

    Australian released from North Korean detention

    More at link.

    Phew! Thank God.
     
  12. Vail

    Vail Justice for Kara & Jessica

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    N. Korea says Australian student expelled for spying - The Mainichi

    North Korean state-run media reported Saturday that a 29-year-old Australian student who left the country this week had been detained for spying and was expelled after apologizing.

    I don't know why anyone would go to N Korea, especially to study. He's lucky he got to go home.
     
  13. Elainera

    Elainera Well-Known Member

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    Spying? Bollocks. If there'd been anything that they could have interpreted as spying however absurd, he'd be doing 20 years hard labor now, or worse. The fact they let him go means he did nothing and was probably detained cause he smiled too much, and the Swedish know how to talk.
     
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  14. Elainera

    Elainera Well-Known Member

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    This is an interesting article about Alek Sigley from Feb 2019. Features many tweets he posted about life in Pyongyang.

    Twitter and Cocoa Puffs: The surprising life of a student at North Korea’s top university

    Twitter appears to be officially banned in North Korea. But Sigley says authorities have neither complained about his posts nor censored them. He is also blessed with another perk: freedom to roam the capital without a government minder and visit shops off-limits to tourists.

    Just a few months old, his Twitter feed has become a rare keyhole through which to view a fast-changing Pyongyang. Sigley mostly documents what North Koreans buy — and for a supposed anti-capitalist haven, they seem to do a lot of shopping.

    His tweets never mention North Korea’s crushing poverty nor its horrendous labor camps. What they do offer is a glimpse inside a country where a core ideological principle — resisting the “filthy winds of bourgeoisie liberty” — is softening.


    Maybe he tweeted too much ....
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
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  15. Elainera

    Elainera Well-Known Member

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    And this article is from Dec 2018. Alek talks about his life in NK, the students, the teachers, shops, restaurants, customs etc. Very interesting read! He really seemed to love living there. He will surely miss it.

    Inside North Korea: Rare insight from a western student
     
  16. Elainera

    Elainera Well-Known Member

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    More details:

    North Korea said on Saturday that an Australian student, who was released by the country after being detained for a week, had spread anti-Pyongyang propaganda and engaged in espionage by providing photos and other materials to news outlets with critical views toward the North.

    Pyongyang’s official news agency KCNA said the North deported Alek Sigley on Thursday after he pleaded for forgiveness over his activities, which the agency said infringed on North Korea’s sovereignty.

    KCNA said Sigley, who was caught “red-handed” by a “relevant institution” of the North on June 25, had abused his status as a student by “combing” through Pyongyang and providing photos and other information to news sites such as NK News and other “anti-DPRK” media, a reference to the North’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The news agency said the North expelled Sigley out of “humanitarian leniency.”

    "He honestly admitted his spying acts of systematically collecting and offering data about the domestic situation of the DPRK and repeatedly asked for pardon, apologising for encroachment upon the sovereignty of the DPRK,” the agency said.

    North Korea says Australian student admitted ‘spying’, asked for pardon
     
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