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North Korea Reportedly Detains Another U.S. Tourist

North Korea's state-run news agency reports Pyongyang has detained another U.S. tourist for violating North Korean laws.
Posted at 1:48 PM, Jun 06, 2014

North Korea announced Friday it has detained another U.S. citizen. 

In a terse statement, North Korea's state-run news agency reports tourist Jeffrey Edward Fowle arrived in the country April 29 and had been arrested for "acting in violation of the ... law, contrary to the purpose of tourism during his stay." (Via Fox News)

The news agency released no other details about Fowle such as his age or which laws he may have violated. 

Japan's Kyodo news agency cites unnamed diplomatic sources in a report that explains Fowle was part of a tour group and was detained in mid-May after allegedly leaving a Bible in a hotel room. 

A correspondent for CNN says the network cannot confirm that report, but "it is known that North Korea is not tolerant of independent religious activities, seeing it as a threat to the regime."

The latest news brings the number of Americans believed to be detained in the communist nation to three. 

Last year, North Korea imprisoned 85-year-old Merrill Newman after accusing him of crimes related to the Korean War. Pyongyang released Newman after a month in captivity, but two other Americans still have not been released: Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American missionary sentenced to 15 years hard labor in 2012, and Matthew Todd Miller, who reportedly ripped up his visa and demanded asylum after arriving in Pyongyang April 10. (Via The Telegraph, ABC)

The U.S. State Department released a statement advising against travel to North Korea following Newman's arrest last year. 

However, it reissued that warning May 20 to include stronger language and explain U.S. tourists traveling to the country with valid visas "have been subject to arbitrary arrest and long-term detention." 

A State Department official says the U.S. said it is aware of reports of another American detention, telling The New York Times"There is no greater priority for us than the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad."

Washington has no diplomatic ties with North Korea and relies on the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang to express American interests in the country.