De­ported Aus­tralian stu­dent was spy, North Korea says

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - News - BY CHOE SANG-HUN

North Korea said Satur­day that Alek Sigley, the Aus­tralian stu­dent whom it de­ported this past week, had been a spy who ad­mit­ted to “sys­tem­at­i­cally” col­lect­ing in­for­ma­tion about the iso­lated coun­try, with a state news agency re­port­ing that he had been “caught red-handed.”

Sigley, 29, a grad­u­ate stu­dent in Korean lit­er­a­ture at Kim Il Sung University in Py­ongyang, was freed in North Korea on Thurs­day and de­ported on the same day. Un­til now, nei­ther Sigley nor the North’s gov­ern­ment had pub­licly explained why he had been de­tained.

On Satur­day, North Korea’s of­fi­cial Korean Cen­tral News Agency, us­ing the ini­tials for the North’s of­fi­cial name, the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea, said Sigley was caught Tues­day while “com­mit­ting an­tiD­PRK in­cite­ment through the in­ter­net.”

“He hon­estly ad­mit­ted his spy­ing acts of sys­tem­at­i­cally col­lect­ing and of­fer­ing data about the do­mes­tic sit­u­a­tion of the DPRK and re­peat­edly asked for par­don, apol­o­giz­ing for en­croach­ment upon the sovereignt­y of the DPRK,” the news agency said. North Korea ex­pelled him with “hu­man­i­tar­ian le­niency,” it said.

Sigley could not be reached for com­ment. But af­ter his re­lease, he said as he emerged at Bei­jing’s in­ter­na­tional air­port Thurs­day, “I’m OK, I’m good.” He de­clined then to ad­dress a re­porter’s ques­tion about why he had been de­tained.

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