February 25, 2024

3,000 days in a North Korean prison: A missionary’s family prays for his return

Christmas marks tragic milestone since Kim Jong-uk’s arrest, with at least six South Koreans still detained in the DPRK

As people around the world celebrated Christmas with gifts, warm meals and video calls with loved ones, Kim Jong-sam knelt in prayer with family and thought of the one who could not join — his brother locked away in a cold North Korean jail cell nine winters ago.

Christmas marked exactly 3,000 days since DPRK authorities arrested the missionary Kim Jong-uk after he crossed the China-North Korea border. His family spent yet another holiday, when temperatures in the Koreas dipped to the single digits Farenheight, unsure whether he is still alive.