News

Alek Sigley: North Korea accuses tour guide of spying prior to release

North Korean state media have said that Alek Sigley, a student and tour guide based in the DPRK, was caught spying prior to his expulsion.

Last week, Travel Weekly reported Sigley had been confirmed “safe and well” by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. It was revealed that Sigley had been detained in North Korea and released in China, following a meeting between a special envoy of Swedish and North Korean authorities.

But, following his release, state media from North Korea have said that Sigley was caught “red handed” by a “relevant” North Korean insitution on 25 June, as reported by ABC NewsIt was also alleged that he had abused his status as a student, and collected data and photographs that were dispersed to “anti-DPRK” media.

The newsagency said that Sigley had admitted to spying and that he had asked for a pardon; he was then expelled from the country out of “humanitarian leniency”.

“He honestly admitted his spying acts of systematically collecting and offering data about the domestic situation of the DPRK and repeatedly asked for pardon, apologising for encroachment upon the sovereignty of the DPRK,” the agency said, as reported by ABC News.

After arriving in China, Sigley flew to Japan to join his wife, where he issued a written statement thanking everyone for their support.

Alek Sigley

“I just want everyone to know I am OK, and to thank them for their concern for my wellbeing and their support for my family over the past week,” he said in a statement obtained by ABC News.

“I intend now to return to normal life but wanted to first publicly thank everyone who worked to ensure I was safe and well.”

He urged the media to respect his privacy as he and his family returned to everyday life; Sigley said he would not be offering further comment “at this time”.

Australian observers have dismissed claims Sigley was a spy and have said that he was granted enormous freedoms to share information about the repressive nation.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that his detention may have had more to do with talks between North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and United States President Donald Trump, which were held at the “truce village” of Panmunjom on the border of North and South Korea on 30 June.

Smartraveller currently advises travellers against visiting the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, owing to the country’s “very different laws and regulations affecting foreign visitors” and “the risks from intermittent DPRK threats against international interests.”

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Cruise

Cruise Wrap: Azamara’s cruise picks for 2019 to 2021, Scenic Eclipse guests get lucky in Antarctica + MORE!

We wrote the Cruise Wrap with our eyes closed today, on account of a slew of wonderful, FOMO-inducing announcements. We’d recommend reading with your eyes open, though. 

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

New luxury Australian train service launches

by Christian Fleetwood

Here’s hoping the train’s stopover in Coffs Harbour comes with a photo opp of The Big Banana.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Rapid tourism development blamed for Bali’s dwindling water supply

by Christian Fleetwood

Unsustainable tourism practices are being blamed for a shortage of freshwater in Bali, as Indonesia awaits an overdue wet season.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Accor invites industry to support the Uluru Statement from the Heart

Australia’s largest hotel and resort operator is calling on the industry to come together to demand Indigenous voices be represented in the constitution.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Tourism

NTIAs 2020 launch: everything you need to know

Time to start practising your acceptance speeches and perfecting your media wall poses, because the 2020 NTIAs have just launched!

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

White Island update: death toll rises, Ovation of the seas leaves port

More people have now been confirmed dead and eight are missing in the aftermath of a devastating volcanic eruption on New Zealand’s White Island. 

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Jetstar cancels 90 flights over pilot strike as smoke causes havoc at Sydney Airport

by Ali Coulton

Travellers booked with Jetstar would be well advised to double-check their flights following this big announcement.

Share

CommentComments

Midweek Interview

Midweek Interview with Turtle Island’s Racheli Evanson

This week, we went one on one with Turtle Island’s marketing director. But that’s not to say we engaged in a physical fight or dance-off with her.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Airline launches record label as it eyes entry to events industry

You’ve gotta hand it to the team at AirAsia. They sure know how to diversify their product line-up.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Flight Centre restructures leadership team, appoints two global CEOs (and a new Aussie MD)

Flight Centre has just dropped some HUGE news about its executive team. Find out who’s moving where here.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

“That middle-man model needs to evolve”: Troovo CEO says blockchain can solve inefficiencies

by Christian Fleetwood

It’s a technology that boasts a quarter-trillion-dollar industry gradually growing in importance, but why should the travel sector join the blockchain craze? All is explained here.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Why the travel industry needs to take cybersecurity seriously

by Ali Coulton

Cybersecurity isn’t the sexiest topic, but it can have massive implications for your business, your brand and, of course, yourself. Here’s what you can do to counter data theft.

Share

CommentComments