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.

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.”

Featured image via Twitter/AlekSigley

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.

NextShark is a leading source covering Asian American News and Asian News including business, culture, entertainment, politics, tech and lifestyle.

For advertising and inquiries: info@nextshark.com