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Pastor Digging Holes in Labor Camp Desperate for Family Contact


A Canadian pastor serving a life sentence in North Korea for subversion told CNN he spends eight hours a day digging holes at a labor camp where he has not seen any other prisoners.

Hyeon Soo Lim, a South Korean-born Canadian who was the head pastor at one of Canada's largest churches, has been held by the North since February.

Lim, who is in his 60s, was sentenced to hard labor for life in December, accused of attempting to overthrow the North Korean government.

In North Korea simply leaving a Bible in a public place can lead to arrest and severe punishment. The country has strict rules against missionary and religious activities that could be seen as threatening to the supremacy of the regime.

Interviewed by CNN at a Pyongyang hotel, Lim said he digs holes six days a week in an orchard at a labour camp where he has seen no other prisoners.

He works eight hours a day, six days a week and has no contact with the outside world.

Lim said he gets three meals a day and regular medical attention. His church has said Lim suffers from "...very high blood pressure."

He said he is desperate to hear from his family and has also requested a Bible.

"I hope I can go home some day," he told CNN. "Nobody knows if I will ever go home, but that is my hope. I miss my family. I am longing to see them again, and my congregation."

Lim had visited North Korea more than 100 times since 1997 and helped start an orphanage and a nursing home.


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