Man arrested on purpose in North Korea because he wanted to stay there
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An American man has spoken out after purposefully getting himself arrested to remain in North Korea.
Matthew Todd Miller from Bakersfield, California travelled to North Korea on 10 April, 2014 with the purpose of getting arrested.
Reports claimed the now 33-year-old tore up his tourist visa in the airport and made clear his intentions to seek political asylum in a bid to 'try to stay in the country'.
Miller was arrested for 'unruly behaviour' however, the accusations against him soon spiralled.
Miller was later accused of 'hostile acts' against the state after being found in possession of a notebook he sought to deliver to North Korea's government, which state-run Korea Central News Agency alleged contained 'confessions'.
Miller reportedly said he was a 'hacker' and knew 'military secrets,' hoping to 'remove the American military in South Korea'.
The Supreme Court of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ruled Miller had 'committed acts hostile to the DPRK while entering the territory of the DPRK under the guise of a tourist,' according to NK News.
The Californian man was charged under Article 64 of the North Korean criminal code concerning acts of espionage and certainly achieved his goal of remaining in North Korea as was sentenced to six years of hard labour.
Miller also spent nearly six months in custody prior to his conviction, having 'refused' to be flown back to the US and resultantly being 'detained'.
"This might sound strange, but I was prepared for the ‘torture’. But instead of that I was killed with kindness, and with that my mind folded and the plan fell apart," he said.
But why did Miller want to get stuck in North Korea in the first place?
Miller told NK News he wanted to see North Korea in a way which went beyond the average tourist's experience of it.
He said: "[I] just wanted to have a face-to-face with North Koreans to answer my personal questions.
"I achieved my personal goal of seeing more of North Korea. I wanted to connect with the people - not question the government or the politics. I have no personal politics. This was not a political trip."
Miller has neither confirmed nor denied whether or not there is any truth to the espionage charges, simply explaining he 'was not there to give secret information or anything like that' but 'just wanted to speak to an ordinary North Korean person about normal things'.
"I wanted to just every day sit down with them and have conversations about everything. I would ask them one question about their country and they would have a question about mine," he said.
Despite calling his mission to remain in North Korea 'successful,' Miller has since reflected on his journey as being a 'mistake' - Miller having called upon the US government to help with his release despite initially seeking asylum in a bid to 'prevent the US from wanting to help'.
Miller resolved: "I was in control of my situation. I knew the risks and consequences. My trip has probably resulted in no change for anyone, except for me. I do feel guilt for the crime. It was a crime. I wasted a lot of time of the North Koreans’ and the Americans’, of all of the officials who spent time with my case."
But did Miller get the answers to his personal questions he so desperately sought for? He said: "I might elaborate on that or I might just keep it as a personal experience."
Featured Image Credit: KNCA
Topics: World News, Crime, True Crime