The family of a Lynnwood man held by North Korean officials for 281 days is now in a hospital, according to family members. 44-year-old Kenneth Bae was jailed for allegedly “committing hostile acts” against the communist regime last year, though Bae’s sister suspects his Christian faith likely played a role.
Bae is roughly nine months into a 15-year sentence at a North Korean labor camp. However, Chung said Sunday her brother had recently been visited by a Swedish diplomat and Bae was now in a hospital, too weak to work.
“We’re terribly worried about his health,” explained Terri Chung, Bae’s sister, “I think it has been deteoriating.”
Saturday, Chung and around a hundred other people gathered at Seattle’s Quest Church for a vigil in Bae’s honor. Their prayers went to U.S. officials, hoping they will be able to get Bae amnesty and allow him to return to the Puget Sound.
“I firmly believe he will come home,” Chung said, “And not in 15 years. I hold onto faith in my God and in my government.”
Bae’s family said help from the local Congressional delegation has been lacking. However, they acknowledge efforts are being made to secure his return. They also realize aside from making noise, there is not much that can be done from this side of the Pacific Ocean.
“We’re hoping what little noise we’re making in this corner of Seattle will spread,” Chung said, “In the end, it’s not up to us. We feel completely hopeless.”
An online petition at Change.org has nearly 10,000 signatures.