An Australian man has reportedly gone missing in North Korea.
9 News reports that Alek Sigley, a 29-year-old exchange student and tour company owner, was arrested in Pyongyang and has not been seen since. It’s understood the Australian has been studying at Kim Il Sung University.
Sigley’s social media accounts show him venturing around North Korea, visiting museums, singing karaoke, and going to the zoo.
Earlier this year, Sigley wrote an opinion piece for The Guardian where he called himself “the only Australian living in North Korea”.
“As a long-term foreign resident on a student visa, I have nearly unprecedented access to Pyongyang,” he wrote.
I’m free to wander around the city, without anyone accompanying me. Interaction with locals can be limited at times, but I can shop and dine almost anywhere I want.”
North Korea today is in transition. Despite heavy sanctions, Pyongyang has a small but growing consumer class, due in part to government policies to liberalise sections of the economy.
In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it is providing consular assistance “to the family of an Australian man who has been reported as being detained in North Korea.”