Korean-born American deported from South Korea for praising North Korea

SEOUL (Reuters) - A Korean-American woman who had been investigated by the South Korean authorities for making positive comments about North Korea has been deported to the United States, an official in Seoul said on Monday.

Ms Shin Eun Mi, a South Korean-born American who came to the South last year as a tourist, has spoken positively of life in North Korea in speeches around the country, as well as in online posts. She also blamed South Korea's news media for encouraging alienation between the people of the rival states. "She has been ordered to depart forcibly for violating the immigration control law and the National Security Law," said a Justice Ministry official, who asking not to be identified. "She was taken to the (airport) and was expelled, and is barred from re-entry for the next five years."

Ms Shin boarded a plane on Saturday. Yonhap news agency said she landed in Los Angeles on Saturday local time. It said a scuffle broke out at the airport between supporters welcoming her back and opponents.

Earlier on Monday, a Justice Ministry official confirmed Ms Shin had been deported for violating the National Security Law as well as the immigration control law. The National Security Law, enacted after the two Koreas were split at the end of World War Two but before the 1950-53 Korean War, prohibits South Koreans from publicly praising the North Korean regime. The war was ended only by a truce and not a peace treaty.

The National Security Law, enacted after the two Koreas were split up at the end of World War Two but before the 1950-1953 Korean War, prohibits South Koreans from publicly praising the North Korean regime. It is considered obsolete mostly by liberal critics, who say it is used by conservative governments to stifle political opposition and suppress freedom of speech.

Appearing before reporters on Saturday after questioning by the immigration authorities, Ms Shin said she was being deported "but my love for my homeland cannot be expelled". "I will be wishing peace and unification for my homeland from afar with the love I have for my compatriots," she said.