North Korea sentences U-Va. student to 15 years of hard labor in prison


North Korea sentenced an American college student to 15 years in prison for trying to steal a propaganda sign


This is absolutely terrible!! Can something not be done about this?
Is there anything the U.S. can do to help?


This is ridiculous. Hopefully our government actually does something good for a change and works to free this person.

Fifteen years… for a sign… remind me again why we haven’t overthrown North Korea’s horrendous government? We need to do it before they are actually able to develop a nuke…


Crazy. What was this student doing in North Korea in the first place?


I think they’re a link to another article in that article which explains why he was there.
Sounds like he was on a stopover to Hong Kong for a financial class sponsored by his University.


What was he doing trying to steal a sign. :eek: I mean, I hate to see someone punished so harshly, but how stupid would you have to be to try and steal a piece of government property in North Korea!?


My question too. His first mistake… going to North Korea in the first place. His second mistake… trying to be cute and steal a government propaganda sign in a country known for its incredibly harsh treatment of any kind of dissent.

While the punishment doesn’t fit the crime by our much more reasonable standards in the west, he isn’t exactly blameless in this…


^^Yes- I have a son that age, and if that were my son I would have strongly tried to dissuade him from stopping over in that country in the first place.
Actually from the link I read it sounds like someone at his church egged him on to steal the sign, promising him money if he brought it back to the States. I hope they are ashamed now. they bear responsibility.
I would hope my kids would have the sense not to do that- they’d be too scared.
Anyway-my heart still goes out to the family and I hope he can be released soon.


I dont think there is much the Govt can do in this case, we already have tough sanctions against NK, if we start asking them for favors, they would expect favors in return, and one persons life is not worth the risk when it comes to the bigger picture.


The State Department warns all willing to listen.

It is unrealistic to think anything can be done for this one person that we do not already do for the good of the rest of the world.


That was my thought too. It’s stupid and immature regardless of where he was, but especially stupid in a country known for harsh punishment. When you are in a foreign country, don’t assume their laws apply don’t apply to you.


Unless you have diplomatic immunity…


That is a fish of a completely different stench… :wink:


I am reminded of the old parental admonishment…

My friend told me to do it.

Would you jump off the Brooklyn Bridge if your friend told you to do it?


True. Forget I opened that can of worms…


Of course it was stupid. I hope someone saves his skin.


Why would any american travel to North Korea?


The poor kid just took a banner.

Not good … but …

… how was he to know it was holding the entire country’s infrastructure together?

:whistle: So don’t forget folks … that’s what you get folks … for trustin’ Commies!

:eek: - This MAY just cripple their burgeoning tourist trade!


I hope he brought some English-language reading materials as it’s going to be a long 15 years.


Agreed 100% I hope our government stays out of it.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit