(From agencies)

A man, who claims to be a naturalised American citizen, says he is being detained in North Korea for spying and has asked the South Korean or U.S. government to rescue him.

Kim Dong Chul
Kim Dong Chul

Kim Dong Chul, believed to be in his 60s and formerly of Fairfax, Virginia, said he spied on behalf of “South Korean conservative elements” and was arrested in October.

‘I was tasked with taking photos of military secrets and scandalous scenes,’ Kim told CNN in the interview.

If confirmed, Kim would be the second Western citizen known to be held currently in North Korea.

However, there have been no recent reports either from Pyongyang or Washington of any American having been detained.

Meanwhile, a Canadian pastor serving a life sentence in North Korea for subversion said he spends eight hours a day digging holes at a labor camp, CNN reported from Pyongyang.

Hyeon Soo Lim, a South Korean-born Canadian who was the head pastor at one of Canada’s largest churches, has been held by the North since February. Lim, who was 60 at the time of his arrest, was sentenced to hard labor for life in December for attempting to overthrow the North’s regime.

“I wasn’t originally a laborer, so the labor was hard at first,” Lim told CNN in Korean through an interpreter. “But now I’ve gotten used to it.”

The charges against Lim lacked specifics, but Lim said it may have had to do with his open criticism of the North’s three generations of leaders.

“I admit I’ve violated this government’s authority, system and order,” Lim said in the interview aired on Monday. Asked if his biggest crime was speaking badly of the North’s leaders, he said: “Yes, I think so.”

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