Australian student arrested in North Korea after posting about life in secretive country

Alek Sigley (pictured), 29, was arrested after a series of tweets about his life in the repressive country

Alek Sigley (pictured), 29, was arrested after a series of tweets about his life in the repressive country

Alek Sigley (pictured), 29, was arrested after a series of tweets about his life in the repressive country

An Australian exchange student who ran tours in Hilagang Korea has been arrested after posting about his life in the secretive country.

Alek Sigley, 29, who is believed to be the only Australian living in North Korea, went missing this week after a series of tweets.

The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed an Australian man reportedly was detained in North Korea.

Mr Sigley’s last social media post on June 24 was about the Ryugyong Hotel, which remained famously unfinished after construction was halted in 1992 as North Korea entered an economic crisis.

‘New signage above the main entrance to the Ryugyong Hotel bearing its name and logo. A sign that it will soon be open for business?’ Mr Sigley’s post read.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed Australian man has reportedly been detained in North Korea - it is urgently seeking clarification

The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed Australian man has reportedly been detained in North Korea - it is urgently seeking clarification

The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed Australian man has reportedly been detained in North Korea – it is urgently seeking clarification

Mr Sigley has been studying Korean Literature at Kim Il Sung University since April 2018 as well as running tours.

North Korea is incredibly strict around media and glimpses inside the secretive country are rare.

However, Mr Sigley has been open about sharing his experiences living in North Korea, writing an editorial in Ang tagapag-bantay about his time there.

‘As a long-term foreign resident on a student visa, I have nearly unprecedented access to Pyongyang,’ he wrote.

‘I’m free to wander around the city, without anyone accompanying me. Interaction with locals can be limited at times, but I can shop and dine almost anywhere I want.’

'As a long-term foreign resident on a student visa, I have nearly unprecedented access to Pyongyang,' he wrote in an editorial in The Guardian

'As a long-term foreign resident on a student visa, I have nearly unprecedented access to Pyongyang,' he wrote in an editorial in The Guardian

‘As a long-term foreign resident on a student visa, I have nearly unprecedented access to Pyongyang,’ he wrote in an editorial in The Guardian

He has posted numerous pictures of magazines, restaurants and buildings. He shared photos of himself in a North Korean football uniform last week.

Tweets include the sorts of food he has tried while in North Korea, which included bear, wild boar and donkey.

Restaurants also offer ostrich, water buffalo, turkey, racoon dog, and badger, he said.

Mr Sigley and his wife, a Japanese national, was reportedly married in North Korea.

Video footage of the wedding shows the pair walk down the aisle, singing karaoke together and say ‘Pyongyang has been a very special place for’.

Mr Sigley's last social media post (pictured) on June 24 was about the Ryugyong Hotel, which remained famously unfinished after construction was halted in 1992 as North Korea entered an economic crisis

Mr Sigley's last social media post (pictured) on June 24 was about the Ryugyong Hotel, which remained famously unfinished after construction was halted in 1992 as North Korea entered an economic crisis

Mr Sigley’s last social media post (pictured) on June 24 was about the Ryugyong Hotel, which remained famously unfinished after construction was halted in 1992 as North Korea entered an economic crisis

Mr Sigley shared photos of himself in a North Korean football uniform last week

Mr Sigley shared photos of himself in a North Korean football uniform last week

Mr Sigley shared photos of himself in a North Korean football uniform last week

North Korea is a ‘Reconsider your need to travel’ destination according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Foreigners have not been detained in North Korea since the death of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier in 2017

Foreigners have not been detained in North Korea since the death of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier in 2017

Foreigners have not been detained in North Korea since the death of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier in 2017

The department website advises against travelling to North Korea due to the very different laws and regulations affecting foreign visitors and the risks from intermittent threats against international interests.

‘If you decide to travel despite the risks, stay as short a time as possible, eliminate unnecessary activities, and review your security arrangements.’

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Foreigners have not been detained in North Korea since the death of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier in 2017.

He had been travelling in a group to Pyongyang when he was arrested and detained at the airport.

North Korean authorities accused him of committing a hostile act against the country by stealing a propaganda poster from the hotel he was staying in.

Otto Warmbier (pictured as he was taken in to custody in Pyongyang last January) has died days after being brought back to the United States in a coma from North Korea

Otto Warmbier (pictured as he was taken in to custody in Pyongyang last January) has died days after being brought back to the United States in a coma from North Korea

Otto Warmbier (pictured as he was taken in to custody in Pyongyang last January) has died days after being brought back to the United States in a coma from North Korea

He was kept there after giving a tearful press conference and was not seen again until he was released by the country in a vegetative state.

North Korean authorities dubiously blamed his condition on a bout of food poisoning which they said he suffered while imprisoned and released him on ‘humanitarian grounds’.

Mr Warmbier then died six days after being brought back to the United States.

The Department of Foreign said: ‘The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance, in accordance with the Consular Services Charter, to the family of an Australian man who has been reported as being detained in North Korea.

‘The Department is urgently seeking clarification.’

What has Alek Sigley been sharing?

Alek Sigley writes a blog where he shares details about life in North Korea.

In one post he has shared about the restaurants he has visited in the secretive country.

He revealed that consumers can try bear, wild boar and donkey.

Restaurants also offer ostrich, water buffalo, turkey, racoon dog, and badger, he said.

‘I’ve discovered a number of excellent places to dine in the city,’ he wrote.

In one post he has shared about the restaurants he has visited in the secretive country

In one post he has shared about the restaurants he has visited in the secretive country

In one post he has shared about the restaurants he has visited in the secretive country

‘My dormitory friends (some of the other foreign students) and I have a custom of trying several new restaurants each week.

‘They are sometimes not far from our home in Taesong District, and at other times further afield. A few are the recommendations of local or foreign friends, while others are places we simply stumble into.’

He has also posted about fashion in North Korea, which he claims has been ‘getting more modern’.

In the post he also shared images from a fashion magazine.

Alek Sigley has been posting rare glimpses inside the secretive country where rules around media are notoriously strict

Alek Sigley has been posting rare glimpses inside the secretive country where rules around media are notoriously strict

Alek Sigley has been posting rare glimpses inside the secretive country where rules around media are notoriously strict

‘The men’s magazine carries out the same function as the women’s: to provide an inventory of state-sanctioned styles, and is also structured in a similar manner, with color photos of models in the front and designs in the back, and the occasional block of text offering fashion advice,’ he wrote.

However, he said the streetwear of the South remains a long way off.

He said the women’s magazine presented clothing as needing to ’embody the innate characteristics of our (Korean) people’. Whereas the men’s magazine dropped the tradition reference.

'The men’s magazine carries out the same function as the women’s: to provide an inventory of state-sanctioned styles,' he wrote

'The men’s magazine carries out the same function as the women’s: to provide an inventory of state-sanctioned styles,' he wrote

‘The men’s magazine carries out the same function as the women’s: to provide an inventory of state-sanctioned styles,’ he wrote

link hienalouca.com

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