North Korea to expel US citizen who ‘illegally entered’ country

Most Americans held by North Korea have been released after high-profile interventions with leaders in Pyongyang, above. (AFP)
Updated 16 November 2018

North Korea to expel US citizen who ‘illegally entered’ country

  • Lawrence Bruce Byron had been in custody after crossing into North Korea from China on October 16
  • It is rare for North Korea to release an American detainee so swiftly

SEOUL: North Korea has decided to expel a US citizen who illegally entered the country last month, Pyongyang’s official KCNA news agency said Friday.
The man, identified as Lawrence Bruce Byron, had been in custody after crossing into North Korea from China on October 16, it said.
“While being questioned, he said he had illegally entered the country under the command of the US Central Intelligence Agency,” KCNA said.
“Relevant authorities have decided to expel him from the country,” it added.
A man with the same name was arrested in South Korea while trying to sneak over the inter-Korean border in November last year.
Byron, who is in his late 50s and from Louisiana, was later deported back to the US.
Media reports said he told South Korean officials he sought to facilitate talks between North Korea and the United States, although he is a private citizen.
It is rare for North Korea to release an American detainee so swiftly and it comes amid stalled negotiations over Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
From journalists to missionaries, most Americans held by North Korea have been released after high-profile interventions.
The reclusive regime freed three US detainees in May in an apparent goodwill gesture before a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in Singapore.
The three men traveled home with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and were greeted by Trump on their arrival at an air base near Washington.
Currently, there are no known US detainees held by the rigid communist state.
At their historic Singapore summit, Trump and Kim signed a vaguely worded document on denuclearization of the peninsula.
Progress has since stalled as Washington and Pyongyang spar over the meaning of the document.


UK police arrest man after stabbing at London Central Mosque

Updated 49 min 46 sec ago

UK police arrest man after stabbing at London Central Mosque

  • Victim was treated by paramedics before being taken to hospital
  • Man who was attacked in his 70s and stabbed multiple times

LONDON: A man attacked the elderly muezzin at one of London’s main mosques on Thursday, stabbing him in the neck before being arrested.

Metropolitan Police said they were called to London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park after reports of a stabbing.

Police were called to London Central Mosque, also known as Regent's Park mosque, on the city's Park Road to reports of a stabbing. (James Stringer/Flickr)

The attack targeted the muezzin, who performs the mosque’s call to prayer, the Muslim hate crime monitor TellMAMA, said. 

The man who was attacked is in his 70s and was stabbed multiple times, Sky News reported.


He was treated by paramedics before being taken to hospital. His injuries are thought to be non-life threatening.

Police said a man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder and a crime scene was put in place.

Video showed police subduing a man inside the mosque before leading him away in handcuffs. He was wearing a red hooded top and no shoes. 

Director-general of the Islamic Cultural Centre, part of the mosque, Dr. Ahmad Al-Dubayan described the attack and the emergency services’ response while confirming the victim was in a good condition.

He told Arab News: “We don’t have any information about the motive for this incident, why he did this or who he is even.

“Of course, we are unhappy about what happened, but we all hope that it was an individual attack and nothing linked to anything further than this attack itself.

“But we are worried and sorry about what has happened.” 

A makeshift area for sunset prayers was set up in the mosque so that worshippers could still pray despite the incident.