The wife of an Australian man, Alek Sigley, who was reported missing in North Korea on Thursday has spoken out, amid fears he may have been detained by authorities.
“We don’t know what’s happened. We don’t even know if he has been detained or not,” she said. “I’m worried but we don’t know anything yet.”
Morinaga added her husband was very respectful of North Korean culture and very cautious.
“He’s very cautious and very respectful of North Korean culture,” she said.
“He is one 100 per cent aware that he’s a guest there and needs to respect the culture. He is always trying to demystify North Korea unlike typical Western media.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) told Starts at 60 it is “urgently seeking clarification” on the whereabouts of the 29-year-old Perth student.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance, in accordance with the Consular Services Charter, to the family of an Australian man who has been reported as being detained in North Korea,” the department said in a statement.
“The Department is urgently seeking clarification. Owing to our privacy obligations we will not provide further comment.”
According to multiple reports, Sigley was studying Korean literature at Kim II Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea. He also ran a tour company named Tongil Tours that organises trips for foreign students
Sigley’s family also issued a statement on Thursday, saying: “The situation is that Alek has not been in digital contact with friends and family since Tuesday morning Australian time, which is unusual for him.
“Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is therefore seeking to confirm his whereabouts and welfare. Alek’s family hope to re-establish contact with him soon.”