The South Korean Foreign Ministry and Seoul police are searching for 14 Christian missionaries after receiving a report saying they were kidnapped in China. Seoul's Mapo Police Station said that it received the report from two missionaries who left for Dalian in China's northeastern Liaoning province with 14 others late last month.
The two missionaries who called the Mapo police said the 14 missionaries were kidnapped and were being kept as hostages in that area of the country. The ministry and police are asking for cooperation from Chinese public security authorities.
The work of foreign missionaries in China is often to serve the around 400,000 North Korean illegal immigrants, who cross the north-east border in search of food and work. For them, repatriation means prison, torture, prolonged interrogation and forced labor. Prison terms are so tough in North Korea, due to mistreatment and lack of food, that a large number of prisoners do not survive them.
In recent years, Beijing and Pyongyang have enacted even more repressive measures to hunt down refuges and those who help them.