The Korea Herald


S. Korean man arrested for illegal missionary work in Libya

By 양승진

Published : Feb. 17, 2013 - 10:51

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   CAIRO -- A South Korean man was arrested in the Libyan city of Benghazi and is under investigation for being involved in illegal missionary work along with three other foreigners, Libyan police and the South Korean embassy there said Sunday.

   The Libyan police arrested the South Korean, an Egyptian, a South African, and a Swede who was traveling on a U.S. passport, on Tuesday on suspicion of printing and distributing books which called for conversion to Christianity, according to the officials.

   Spreading Christianity is a criminal act in the predominantly Muslim North African county.

   "Proselytizing is forbidden in Libya. We are a 100 percent Muslim country and this kind of action affects our national security," security official Hussein Bin Hmeid said.

   Some 45,000 books were found in their possession and another 25,000 have already been distributed, he added. 

   The arrestees have gone through an interrogation, and will be handed over to the intelligence authorities "in a couple of days,"

said the official without elaborating further.

   While the identities of those arrested are not known, the South Korean embassy said the Korean man has resided in the city for about a year with his family, and does not appear to be as a professional missionary.

   "The Libyan authorities suspect the Korean man was indirectly connected to the activities. He is under investigation, but not as a suspect," said an embassy official, while vowing to maintain close contact with the Libyan police to protect the overseas Korean. (Yonhap)