John Short, a 75-year-old Australian missionary who lives in Hong Kong with his wife, was questioned and detained by North Korean police while visiting Pyongyang as part of a tour group. Officials detained him reportedly for being in possession of gospel tracts.
Short traveled to Pyongyang on Feb. 15 with the tour group, and police questioned him at his hotel the next day about the Korean-language gospel tracts that he was carrying. Officials reportedly asked him who translated the material into Korean, who sent him and to what organization he belongs.
Short’s wife was informed of his detention by a member of the tour group who was allowed to leave on Feb. 18. This was Short’s second visit to North Korea. His wife said that on his first tour he was very outspoken about his faith and even read the Bible in the presence of North Korean officials who accompanied him.
The tour company has made repeated calls to North Korea, but officials have refused to provide any information. The Australian government is working on Short’s behalf through its embassy in South Korea and has also requested help from Sweden, which has an embassy in Pyongyang.
As a missionary to mainland China since 1964, Short has been arrested on several occasions by Chinese officials. In May 1996, he was arrested and his entry visa to the mainland was revoked. While he was allowed to stay in Hong Kong, he was prevented from helping spread the gospel to inland China for the next two years, until communist authorities determined he was no longer a threat.
You can mail a letter of encouragement to Karen Short at:
Mrs. Karen Short
P.O. Box 162
Tsuen Wan NT
John Short Released
John Short was released by North Korean authorities on March 3. Officials from the Australian embassy met Mr. Short upon his arrival at the airport in Beijing. His wife, Karen, expresses her thanks to God and to those who have prayed for his release.