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North Korea says it is holding American tourist

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has detained a 56-year old man from Ohio, accusing him of an unspecified crime after he traveled to the communist-led country as a tourist, the nation's state news agency and the man's family said Friday. The North is now holding three Americans.

The state Korean Central News Agency identified the latest detainee as Jeffrey Edward Fowle. It said he arrived in North Korea on April 29 and authorities were investigating him for committing acts inconsistent with the purpose of a tourist visit. It did not give details.

U.S. officials confirmed the detention but didn't identify the person for privacy reasons, nor comment on reports that he was held after leaving a bible in his hotel room.

Lawyer Timothy Tepe, a spokesman for Fowle's family, said Fowle is married with three children and has a home in Miamisburg in southwest Ohio. Fowle was not on a mission for his church, Tepe said.

One of the two other U.S. detainees is Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae, who has been held since November 2012, and is serving 15 years for what the North says were hostile acts against the state.

The third American was detained for alleged improper behavior. The tourist agency he traveled with identified him as Matthew Miller, 24. North Korea said he entered the country on April 10 with a tourist visa, but tore it up and shouted that he wanted to seek asylum.

North Korea says it is holding American tourist 06/06/14 [Last modified: Friday, June 6, 2014 11:11pm]
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