PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — North Korea state media say an elderly U.S. tourist detained for more than a month has apologized for alleged crimes during the Korean War and for “hostile acts” against the state during a recent trip.
A YouTube video posted by North Korean officials shows 85-year old Merrill Newman reading a statement dated November 9, in which he asks for forgiveness and says he was guilty of a long list of indelible crimes against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
There was no direct word from Newman and his alleged apology released Saturday couldn’t be independently confirmed. Pyongyang has been accused of previously coercing statements from detainees.
Newman, of Palo Alto, was about to leave the country on Oct. 26 when a uniformed North Korean officer came on the plane, asked to see his passport, and asked the stewardess to have him leave the plane, according to his son Jeffrey.
“My dad got off, walked out with the stewardess, and that’s the last he was seen,” Jeffrey Newman told The Associated Press early this month.
Jeffrey Newman, a Pasadena resident, had no comment Friday.
Pyongyang says the war veteran allegedly attempted to meet with surviving soldiers he had trained during the Korean War and that he admitted killing civilians.
It wasn’t clear what would happen to Newman now. But the statement alleges that Newman says if he goes back to the U.S. he will tell the truth about the country.
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