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British Backpacker Held in N. Korea

November 30, 1998

LONDON (AP) _ A British backpacker who strayed across the North Korean border was seized at gunpoint and held captive for a month, Britain’s Foreign Office confirmed Monday.

Joel Emond, 18, said he was vacationing in China in September when he crossed the unmarked North Korean border near the extinct Changbai volcano. Accused of being a spy, he was arrested and held at a military base until his release Oct. 29, he said.

``The people seemed very friendly, but suddenly I was surrounded by North Korean soldiers who marched me off,″ Emond said from his home in Bristol, west of London. ``They seemed to think initially that I was a spy. I was held in solitary confinement and that, coupled with the contaminated food I was given, was a pretty nasty combination.″

Emond, who was traveling alone, was released after North Korean authorities contacted the United Nations in New York.

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