Canadian With Ties to North Korea Detained in Northeast China

By Ryan Gandolfo, December 13, 2018

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Canadian citizen Michael Spavor is currently under investigation by Chinese State Security, according to Global Times. The investigation is being carried out by the Dandong State Security Bureau in Liaoning province and Spavor is suspected of jeopardizing China’s national security.

The Great White North native contacted Canadian government officials after Chinese authorities had questioned him, according to the Globe and Mail.

Foreign Affairs Miniter Chrystia Freeland spoke on the matter at a news conference, saying: 

“We have not been able to make contact with him since he let us know about this. We are working very hard to ascertain his whereabouts and we have also raised this case with the Chinese authorities. We are in touch with his family.”

Spavor is now the second Canadian to be detained by Chinese authorities after Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver on December 1. On Tuesday, Meng was released on bail and still awaits possible extradition to the US over fraud allegations related to Iran sanctions. 

On Monday, Michael Kovrig, another Canadian man, was taken by authorities in Beijing. Kovrig is a former diplomat and currently works at International Crisis Group, a think tank “working to prevent wars and shape policies that will build a more peaceful world,” according to their website.

Back in 2014, a married Canadian couple who ran a coffee shop in Dandong, which is the largest Chinese city on the North Korean border, were also detained by authorities. They were brought in around the time Su Bin, a Chinese businessman, was arrested in Richmond, Canada and later extradited to the US. Mr. Garratt spent 750 days in Chinese detention and was sentenced to eight years in prison before being deported. Mrs. Garratt spent six months in detention. The two events four years apart are eerily similar.

According to NKNews, Spavor runs a private non-governmental organization called Paektu Cultural Exchange, which brings delegations to North Korea to assess potential business opportunities. Spavor also played a key role in arranging former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea in 2015.

READ MORE: Huawei CFO Granted Bail of USD7.5 Million in Vancouver

[Cover image via NKNews]

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