North Korea to release detained Australian missionary

SEOUL (AFP) - North Korea said on Monday it would release and deport a 75-year-old Australian missionary detained since last month for allegedly distributing religious materials.

Mr John Short was arrested after leaving "Bible tracts" in a Buddhist temple in the capital Pyongyang during a tour, the North's state-run KCNA news agency said.

"Short acknowledged that his actions were...unforgivable crimes in violation of our laws, offered an apology and begged for forgiveness," KCNA said.

In a show of North Korea's "generosity" and in view of his advanced age, the decision was taken to deport him, the agency said.

It added that Mr Short had apparently distributed religious leaflets in a crowded subway train in Pyongyang during a previous tour in August 2012.

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