NEWS reports from Japan indicate that an American man presumed to have died in China more than a decade ago has actually been working as an English teacher in North Korea and is married with two children.
University student David Sneddon disappeared in western China in 2004, with the official story running that he had perished while hiking near the famous Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan province.
His body was never recovered and parents Roy and Kathleen long suspected that the story spun by Chinese officials was a farce, pleading with the US government for 12 years to open up an official investigation into his disappearance.
They believed that Sneddon’s Korean fluency and time spent as a Mormon missionary in South Korea made him a prime target for the North’s intelligence operatives, who have managed a vast kidnapping apparatus for decades.
Now the head of South Korea’s Abductees Family Union, Choi Sung-yong, has come forward to claim they have information that Sneddon was kidnapped by the North to be used as an American English tutor for Kim Jong-un, then heir to the throne and now the reclusive nation’s young dictator.
The story holds water as the Tiger Leaping Gorge is also a stop on the reputed underground railroad frequently used by North Korean refugees to flee the impoverished state.
If confirmed the reports will surely lead to a full US investigation and diplomatic confrontation between the two countries, who have been at loggerheads for decades over the North’s nuclear weapons program.
Dozens of Japanese and thousands of South Koreans have allegedly been kidnapped over the years to teach language and culture to the North’s spies. In 1978 legendary South Korean film director Shin Sang-ok was captured to direct propaganda flicks for the North, eventually escaping while attending a Vietnamese film festival eight year later.