Australian university student, 29, 'arrested and detained in North Korea'

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter

An Australian man has been detained in North Korea, Foreign Affairs officials believe.

Alek Sigley, 29, was reportedly arrested in Pyongyang recently, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed to Yahoo News Australia and has not been seen since.

DFAT says it is "urgently seeking clarification" after Sigley’s reported arrest and are providing consular assistance to his family.

Alek Sigley. Source: Twitter
Alek Sigley. Source: Twitter

Sigley has been studying Korean literature at the Kim II Sung University and runs a travel company in the country called Tongil Tours for students visiting North Korea.

He is understood to be the only Australian living in North Korea.

Sigley tweeted regularly from North Korea, with his last post shared on Monday with an update on the highly-publicised Ryugyong Hotel.

In a story for The Guardian in March, he spoke of his freedom in the country.

“As a long-term foreign resident on a student visa, I have nearly unprecedented access to Pyongyang,” he said.

“I’m free to wander around the city, without anyone accompanying me.

“Interaction with locals can be limited at times, but I can shop and dine almost anywhere I want.”

There is no Australian embassy in North Korea with its diplomatic presence in South Korea.

Consular assistance can be provided by other nations, including Sweden – a nation Sigley has been pictured at the residence of its ambassador in Pyongyang.

Sigley spent his childhood in Perth, attended Rossmoyne Senior High School, the ABC reported.

He later enrolled at Australian National University in Canberra before embarking on further studies in North Korea.

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