Alek Sigley Bio
Alek Sigley, 29, last made contact with his family on June 25, sparking concerns he had been detained in the secretive nation’s capital, Pyongyang. He is an Australian national studying in Sung University North Korea who was detained by the North Korean govt on June 25, 2019, he was released on July 4. Alek is believed to be the only Australian living in North Korea, he has been a resident of Pyongyang since early 2018.
#UPDATE A 29-year-old Australian student detained in North Korea arrived in Tokyo on Thursday, hours after surfacing in Beijing where he said he felt “great” after being released. https://t.co/rsEgsgEHc0 #AlekSigley
— AFP news agency (@AFP) July 4, 2019
Who is Alek Sigley?
Mr Sigley was one of very few foreigners living in North Korea.
Originally from Perth, for the past year he had been pursuing a degree in Korean literature at Kim Il-sung University.
He also ran a business providing tours for Western tourists visiting the totalitarian, communist state.
Alek Sigley Age
He is 29 years old.
Alek Sigley Family, Parents
His father is an Australian “Anglo-Aussie sinologist” and his mother is Chinese.
Alek Sigley Wife
Alek married his wife Yuka Morinaga in 2018 in North Kore. On his blog he wrote; “A Chinese-Australian man and a Japanese woman have their wedding in North Korea. My existence alone causes much confusion and I apologize if it has caused you any.”
Alek Sigley North Korea
Alek is a student studying masters degree in Korean literature at Kim Il Sung University and runs a tour company that organises trips for foreign students in North Korea.
He received a New Colombo scholarship to study at Sogang University in South Korea in 2016 becoming the first Australian to study in Pyongyang.
Alek Sigley Blog
Alek operates an Australia-based tour operator, Tongil Tours which specialises in educational tourism to North Korea. His last blog post was on the company’s website was on June 20, where he talked about visiting restaurants in Pyongyang with other foreign students.
On his website he said he would not discuss topics that may get him into trouble; ‘Please note that because of my studies and work in-country I generally steer clear of politically sensitive issues in my blog. At any rate, I’m not particularly interested in saying what has already been said a thousand times before about North Korea. In my blog, I aim simply to present life in North Korea as I see and experience it.’
Alek Sigley Missing
Mr Sigley has been studying Korean Literature at Kim Il Sung University since April 2018 while also operating a tour company called Tongil Tours.
He was believed to be the only Australian living in North Korea.
He has become one of the most prominent Twitter users inside Pyongyang and has amassed more than 4,000 followers.
Mr Sigley also ran a blog that provided updates on his life in North Korea – even stating he wouldn’t get involved in controversial topics that would land him in hot water.
Alek Sigley went missing on 25th June 2019. His family said they had not been in contact with him since Tuesday and they had not received confirmation that he has been arrested by the North Korean government. His family released a statement saying he had been out of contact for 48 hours.
— mike shanahan (@the_shagman) July 4, 2019
It is not known why the student, a fluent Korean speaker, had been detained.
Alek Sigley Released From Detention
STATEMENT FROM PRIME MINISTER SCOTT MORRISON
On July 4, 2019, Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that Alek Sigley had been released from detention by the North Korean government and had arrived safely in China.
We are pleased to announce that Mr Alek Sigley has today been released from detention in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). He is safe and well.
Swedish authorities advised the Australian Government that they met with senior officials from the DPRK yesterday and raised the issue of Alek’s disappearance on Australia’s behalf.
Earlier this morning we were advised that the DPRK had released Alek from detention, and he has now safely left the country.
On behalf of the Australian Government, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Swedish authorities for their invaluable assistance in securing Alek’s prompt release.
This outcome demonstrates the value of the discreet, behind the scenes work of officials in resolving complex and sensitive consular cases, in close partnership with other governments.
We couldn’t be more pleased that we not only know where Alek is but that he is safe.”
To the Christians of the world 4/
So now this man, Alek Sigley, will be permanently banned from entry into both North and South Korea. He can never return to Korean Peninsula again (as per Korean immigration policy @TheBlueHouseENG )
— Leo of Montrèal (@LeoOfMontreal) July 4, 2019
Alek Sigley Instagram
AlekInstagram account not found.
Alek Sigley Twitter
Excited to announce that I’ll be personally leading this week-long tour to North Korea in late August. Pyongyang, DMZ and more. Look forward to lots of fun travelling with everyone and chatting about my experiences living and studying in Pyongyang. https://t.co/aEwLj564aY
— Alek Sigley (@AlekSigley) February 18, 2019
Fast Facts You Need to Know
- Alek Sigley has been found ‘safe and sound’ after he was detained in North Korea
- The student, 29, contacted his family on June 25, sparking fears he was jailed
- NK News reported Mr. Sigley was in China and traveling to Tokyo on Thursday
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Mr. Sigley was released from detention
- Former Liberal MP Michael Johnson said Donald Trump deserved the credit
- Released happened four days after U.S. President met dictator Kim Jong-un