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Dutchman returns home after detention in N. Korea: media report

All Headlines 16:45 August 15, 2011

SEOUL, Aug. 15 (Yonhap) -- A Dutch stamp collector, who was reported missing during a trip to North Korea last month, has returned home, saying he had been detained there on charges of anti-state activities, a Dutch media reported Monday.

Willem van der Bijl entered North Korea on July 17 on a trip to buy stamps and propaganda artwork. His relatives reported to authorities that he went missing as he did not return home on July 30 from the trip, as he had planned.

On Monday, the Dutch broadcaster RTV Utrecht cited a friend of him saying that Van der Bijl returned home on Aug. 13 and told family members that he had been detained in the North for two weeks on charges of anti-state activities.

The charges filed against the Dutuch visitor appear to be related to a series of pictures he took during his trip around the country, the broadcaster quoted his friend as saying.

The friend was also quoted as saying that van der Bijl signed a confession in North Korea, and that two North Koreans, hired by him to help him during the trip, were still believed under detention.
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