NORTH Korea has freed John Short, a 75-year-old Australian missionary whom it detained last month.
“The relevant organ decided to expel him from the territory of the DPRK, thanks to the tolerance of the law of the DPRK and in full consideration of his age,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Monday.
The agency said Short “committed a criminal act by secretly spreading his Bible tracts around a Buddhist temple in Pyongyang,” after entering the country as a tourist.
Short’s wife, Karen, said she had been told by an Australian Embassy official that her husband had arrived in Beijing.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it had received confirmation that Short had been released and was being deported.
KCNA published a written apology that it attributed to Short.
“I now realize the seriousness of my insult to the Korean people on February 16th because I made the Korean people angry and for this I truly apologize.
“I realize that my actions are an indelible hostile act against the independent right and law of the DPRK.
“I request the forgiveness of the DPRK for my actions,” Short reportedly wrote.
North Korea is known to push high-profile detainees to make false confessions.