The wife of Alek Sigley, an Australian man who is missing in North Korea, says she is very concerned about him. Mr. Sigley has not talked to his family since Tuesday and reports say he may have been arrested.
Mr. Sigley has lived and studied in several countries across Asia, according to his family. He has not contacted them since Tuesday but his family cannot confirm the reports saying he was arrested.
Wife Speaks, Tour Company and Social Media
His wife Yuka Morinaga told News Corp that she was very concerned about his silence on WhatsApp, an app they use to contact each other regularly. A friend of Mr. Sigley who regularly contacts him said he had last talked to him about three days ago. He said Mr. Sigley’s Skype is active since it shows a green light but he does not respond to his messages.
Yuka and Alek met while attending the Australian National University. They got married 18 months ago but several news sites report that they are not living together.
Mr. Sigley, who has been living in North Korea for the last two years, is said to be active on social media. One of his latest tweets was him talking about a new logo for a hotel in the capital. He is also said to be in charge of a tour company, which has a summer program scheduled to begin on Saturday.
No Embassy In North Korea
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trading confirmed that it was providing consular assistance to his family. But the process has taken much longer since Australia does not have an embassy in North Korea. Everything is done through the Swedish embassy.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said hours ago that he’s been unable to obtain new information about the disappearance of Sigley. He also said earlier today that he was unable to confirm if he had been arrested.
North Korea has not confirmed if he was arrested. The country has arrested other students in the past, including US college student Otto Warmbier, who was jailed for allegedly trying to steal a propaganda poster during his visit to the country.
Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor. He was freed in 2017 in a vegetative state and died shortly after. The US government later announced a ban that prevents Americans from visiting the country, with Warmbier’s arrest given as one of the reasons.