The two South Korean pastors who were detained with their wives on March 15 are accused of helping North Korean defectors living in China. One pastor, age 66, was arrested with his wife at the Qingdao airport. The other pastor, age 42, was arrested with his wife at a hotel in Qinhuangdao. The wives of the two pastors have since been released after a few days of investigation.
However, both pastors remain in custody. The Pastors Seong-do Ohn & Byeong-gi Lee Release Committee is calling on the government of South Korea to act more quickly in addressing the detainment of the two pastors. The statement says, “The government of the Republic of Korea has an obligation to actively protect and support those who have been arrested for helping refugees in China…” The committee also calls on the South Korean government to speak out to protect South Korean people detained in other countries.
The committee claims that the delayed response of South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea, in addressing the situation has been “painful” and “unfair” to the families.
Jeff King, President of ICC said, “ICC calls on the government of South Korea to act swiftly to secure the release of these two pastors. These pastors were providing humanitarian aid to refugees fleeing one of the most oppressive regimes in the world. To simply ignore the detainment of these pastors will put many others providing humanitarian aid at risk.”