Incident: Christians Arrested in North Korea during Underground Church Service

General Information
Title: Christians Arrested in North Korea during Underground Church Service
Country: North Korea
State/Province: South Pyongan Province
City: Sunch’ŏn
Other Address:
Date of Incident: 2023-04-30
Security Level: Public
Just as they had every Sunday at 5 a.m., the five Christians gathered at the farmhouse for prayer and Bible study. But this time the police were waiting for them. Tipped off by an informant, authorities arrested the believers on charges of believing in God, a crime in a country where all religion is illegal – except for the reverence everyone is required to show for the country’s leader Kim Jong Un, and its past leaders, his father and grandfather. Sources told Radio Free Asia’s Korean Service that the Christians, arrested on April 30, are relatives who met weekly at the farmhouse in Tongam village, outside Sunchon city in South Pyongan province, in central North Korea. “At the site of the worship service, the police retrieved dozens of Bible booklets and arrested all in attendance,” a resident of the province told RFA on condition of anonymity for security reasons. She said that an informant tipped off the police about the secret Sunday morning gathering. News of the raid spread quickly throughout Sunchon, another resident who witnessed the arrest told RFA. “They were praying and reading the Bible together,” she said. “They got together with their relatives and [prayed] ‘Oh Jesus, Lord Jesus … ,’ like that. And then they got arrested.” If the past is any indication, the believers will be sent to labor camps to serve time. RFA was not able to confirm their status after the raid.
Nature of Incidents
Killings: 0
(Attempts) to destroy, vandalize or desecrate places of worship or religious buildings: 0
Closed places of worship or religious buildings: 0
Arrests/detentions: 5
Sentences: 0
Abductions: 0
Sexual assaults/harassment: 0
Forced marriages: 0
Other forms of attack (physical or mental abuse) 0
Attacked houses/property of faith adherents: 0
Attacked shops, businesses or institutions of faith adherents: 0
Forced to leave home: 0
Forced to leave country: 0
Non-physical violence : 0
Responsible Actor Category
Responsible Actor Name: Police
Responsible actor category: Government officials
Responsible Actor Religion
Responsible Actor Religion:
Subcategory Responsible Actor Religion:
Religion of Victim(s)
Religion of victim(s): Christian
Subcategory Religion of victim(s):
Additional Information
Created By:
Web Sources
Name: North Korea arrests 5 Christians during underground church service