By BosNewsLife News Center
WASHINGTON/VIENTIANE (BosNewsLife) -- A leading Christian human rights watchdog expressed concern Friday, June 9, over the whereabouts of 10 North Koreans and two Christian South Korean aid workers who were detained in Laos as they tried to find a "safe haven in a Southeast Asian country."
Washington-DC based International Christian Concern (ICC), told BosNewsLife in a statement that it learned of the arrests earlier on Friday, June 9, amid concerns that especially the North Koreans may face the death penalty.
"If Laos chooses to surrender the escapees to the North Korean embassy, they will almost certainly face either a long imprisonment in the Gulag or a death sentence," ICC said.
It also expressed worries over "two South Korean Christian aid workers who were aiding the escapees" and were also arrested. There were no immediate reactions from Laotian officials.
Like North Korea, Laos is a Communist-run country although it has been under pressure to become a more open society since 1997, when it joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a political and economic organization of countries located in Southeast Asia.
ICC said the detainees were currently being held at the Immigration Detention Center in Pang Mong in Luan Brabang Province of Laos. The North Koreans were identified as Mr. Cha Song-chol, 53, Ms. Cheon Yong-kum, 58, Mr. Cha Kwang-su, 25, Ms. Kim Kyong-suk, 71, Ms. Chu Hi-ok, 40, Ms. Yim Jong-suk, 36, Ms. Shim Yong-kum, 35, Ms. Park Yong-nan, 26, Ms. Jeon Song-hi, 26 and Ms. Kim Jong-ae, 35.
The South Koreans were named as men Kim Hee-tae and Shin Sang Hwa.
ICC, with Website www.persecution.org, urged Christians to contact the Laotian Embassy or Consulate in their country and ask for the release of the North and South Koreans. (With BosNewsLife Research and reports from Laos and Washington).
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