China Arrests Korean-American Operating NGO on North Korean Border

The entrance to a vocational school ran by Peter Hahn, a 74-year-old Korean-American in the Chinese border city of Tumen. Hahn was arrested Friday by Chinese authorities according to sources.

A Korean-American aid worker has been arrested in China and accused of embezzlement and counterfeiting.

Peter Hahn, who is 74, was arrested by Chinese authorities on Friday, according to his attorney Zhang Peihong. Zhang says Hahn, a Christian, runs a vocational school in the town of Tumen, near China's border with North Korea, and has provided aid to North Koreans in the past.

Zhang rejected the charges against Hahn, saying they have no merit.

The U.S. embassy had no comment on the matter.

China's foreign ministry confirmed the charges to Reuters news service. It said Hahn has been criminally detained, which less severe than a formal arrest.

China said earlier this year that it had arrested a Canadian Christian couple who ran a coffee shop in Dandong, a Chinese town bordering North Korea. They were arrested for suspected theft of military and intelligence information. Their fate is unknown.

Christian missionaries frequently use Dandong as a waypoint when secretly crossing the border into North Korea or helping North Koreans who sneak out of their country.

North Korea views missionaries as spies and frequently detains or deports them. In China, stealing state secrets is punishable with the death penalty.

Material for this report came from AP and Reuters.