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DPRK Arrests American Student for Attempt to Take Political Slogan from Hotel
   2016-02-29 17:10:46    Xinhua      Web Editor: Fei Fei

Otto Frederick Warmbier (3rd R), a University of Virginia student who has been detained in North Korea since early January, attends a new conference in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this photo released by Kyodo February 29, 2016. [Photo: CFP]

An American student held by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) since January told a press conference Monday that he tried to take a political slogan from a hotel and was later arrested.

Otto Frederick Warmbier, a 21-year-old undergraduate student of commerce from Virginia University, confessed at the press conference to "committing severe crimes against the DPRK people and government" on New Year's Day, 2016.

He said that on the early morning of Jan. 1, he attempted to take a political slogan which inspired people's love for the DPRK from a staff-only area at Yanggakdo International Hotel, where he stayed during his tour in Pyongyang.

He committed the crime with the connivance of the U.S. government and the task was given by the Friendship United Methodist Church, which promised him a good reward in return, he said.

"The aim was to harm the work ethics and motivation of the DPRK people," Warmbier said. He was later arrested and detained at Pyongyang International Airport on Jan. 2.

Warmbier apologized to the DPRK people and the government and he repeatedly begged for forgiveness and for help in any possible way to rescue him, claiming that he was only a "political victim of the U.S. consistent hostile policy against the DPRK."

He also stressed that he was treated in a humanitarian way during the investigation and is now in good health. He said he did not know what penalty he might face, but he fervently hoped he could return home to reunite with his family.

The DPRK's state media KCNA reported on Jan. 22 that Warmbier had been arrested by the authorities because he entered the country under the guise of a tourist and aimed to undermine the foundation of the country's single-minded unity.

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