Monday, Apr 21, 2014Monday, Apr 21, 2014

North Korea releases detained elderly American Korean War veteran

Published on Dec 7, 2013 10:52 AM
Veteran United States soldier Merrill Newman (centre), who was detained for over a month in North Korea, arrives at Beijing airport in Beijing, in this photo taken by Kyodo on December 7, 2013. Mr Newman, 85, arrived in China on Saturday after being freed by the reclusive nation on humanitarian grounds. North Korea's KCNA news agency earlier said he was being deported because he had admitted to his wrongdoing and apologised. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (AFP) - North Korea said on Saturday it has deported an American veteran of the Korean War who had been detained in the country since October for what Pyongyang described as "hostile acts" against the communist country.

Merrill Newman, an 85-year-old from California, was deported "from a humanitarian viewpoint", the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, citing his "sincere repentance" as well as his age and health condition.

Newman, who has a heart condition, was plucked off a plane last month as he was leaving Pyongyang following a tourist visit.

His family said he was detained on October 26 shortly before take-off from the North Korean capital.

If you are not a subscriber, you can get instant, unlimited access here