Missing Australian Student Reportedly Arrested in North Korea
An Australian man studying at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea has reportedly been missing since Tuesday.
Earlier reports have originally stated that 29-year-old Alek Sigley was arrested by North Korean authorities. His family, however, has since publicly stated that they have not received any confirmation of his arrest.
Sigley, who moved to North Korea last year, had been studying a master’s degree in Korean literature while also running Tongil Tours, a tour company that organizes trips for foreign students.
Sigley was born in Perth, Australia to a Chinese mother and an Australian sinologist father. After finishing high school, he went on to study at Shanghai’s Fudan University in China. There he met North Korean students and gained interest in studying Korean. He first visited North Korea in 2012.
Sigley went on to study North Korean propaganda at the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific, graduating in July 2018.
According to a spokesperson for the Sigley family, they have not been able to contact him since Tuesday, reports The Guardian. Sigley’s friend Leonid Petrov, a North Korea expert from the Australian National University, said he last spoke to the missing student four days ago.
Sigley’s latest online activity was a tweet about the possibility of an opening of the infamous Ryugyong Hotel in the capital.
New signage above the main entrance to the Ryugyong Hotel bearing its name and logo. A sign that it will soon be open for business?
In a statement, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has confirmed that it is “providing consular assistance… to the family of an Australian man who has been reported as being detained in North Korea.” It further stated that “the department is urgently seeking clarification.”