If You Get Arrested In North Korea, You May Be Used For Propaganda Purposes

Dutch tourist and stamp collector Willem van der Bijl had visited North Korea 24 times over the years, but his visit last summer was somewhat different — he was arrested, held in prison, then missed his flight home. He was only allowed to leave once he had signed a full confession for “spying”.

Willem took the time to talk to NKNews about his experiences in the prison. His account is fascinating — Willem only ate rice (without salt or sugar) three times a day when he was in prison, and the guards kept all his possessions and charged him €120 for food when he was released.

Perhaps most incredible is Willem’s account of the forged newspaper article that appeared with his signature while he was in prison:

Dutch Tourist North Korea

Photo: Screengrab

Willem notes that the interview, published in Pyongyang Times, is somewhat ironic, given that he was in the country to purchase propaganda posters. Incredibly, Willem actually did see a polling station when he was in North Korea — but unsurprisingly, his impression of the elections doesn’t quite match up with the version printed above.

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