North Korea’s Latest Foregin Prisoner Is a 75-Year-Old Australian

A North Korea soldier stands guard on the banks of the Yalu River which separates the North Korean town of Sinuiju from the Chinese border town of Dandong on the second anniversary of the death of former leader Kim Jong-Il, December 17, 2013.  North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un presided over a  major remembrance ceremony on the second anniversary of the death of his father and former leader Kim Jong-Il. The meeting came days after the shock execution of Kim Jong-Un's uncle and one-time political mentor, Jang Song-Thaek -- a purge that raised questions about the stability of the current regime in Pyongyang.
Photo: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

The most recent foreigner to have his stay in North Korea unexpectedly lengthened after visiting as part of a tour is a 75-year-old Australian missionary named John Short, whom police detained after apparently finding Korean-language gospel tracts on him. North Korea considers non-state-sanctioned religious activity to be subversive, and last year sentenced American evangelist Kenneth Bae to 15 years hard labor. Short's wife told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation she's been informed the charges are serious, but because Australia doesn't have diplomatic ties with North Korea, "this is an out-of-the-ordinary case for us."