PYONGYANG, North Korea – North Korea announced last week that it has detained American citizen, Jeffrey Edward Fowle. According to the Korean Central News Agency, Fowle, who has been in North Korea since April 29, was arrested because he “perpetrated activities that violated the laws of our republic, which did not fit his stated purpose of visiting our republic as a tourist.”
Though North Korea has not specified the nature of Fowle’s crime, Japan’s Kyodo News Agency reported that the Ohio native was arrested on his way out of the country after it was discovered that he left a Bible in his hotel room, and a copy of 50 Shades of Grey behind the toilet. North Korean authorities may have felt that Fowle leaving the Bible behind was the act of a missionary attempting to proselytize, while leaving behind the highly-arousing E.L. James novel may have been an attempt to induce North Koreans into practicing non-missionary acts.
Mr. Fowle’s detention makes him the third American currently in captivity in North Korea “These detentions of Americans are becoming a disturbing pattern by the North Koreans to create bargaining chips and get worldwide attention,” said former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, who has served as a special envoy to North Korea. “What they want in return from the U.S. is anyone’s guess given Kim Jong-un’s unpredictability. Although I’m told the State Department recently put in an order for 100 silk ties, though that may not be related.”
Mr. Fowle’s family and friends were quick to jump to his defense. “This is a set-up. Jeff’s a smart guy and there’s simply no way he’d bring a Bible into North Korea. He’s not an idiot. He has a wife and kids to get home to,” said David Hicks, city manager of Moraine, Ohio and Fowle’s employer. “They just assume every American who visits wants to convert folks to Jesus, but Jeff’s no Bible-thumper.”
“The mommy porn, though… yeah, that was probably his,” he added.
In light of Fowle’s detention, the United States State Department strengthened its longstanding warning against American citizens travelling to North Korea. “U.S. citizen tourists have been subject to arbitrary arrest and long-term detention,” read the updated statement. “Citizens who are determined to travel to single least-welcoming nation in the world are advised that they are pretty much on their own. We’re serious. Don’t come crying to us when they toss you in the gulag and shove dead mice through your anal sphincter.”