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Anocha 'keen' to come home

Anocha Panjoy, the Thai woman allegedly abducted by a North Korean agent from Macao in 1978, expressed a strong wish to return to her home country, American Korean War deserter Charles Jenkins said.

Anocha 'keen' to come home

Anocha Panjoy (far left) seen in a picture taken with Jenkins's family in a North Korean beach in 1984.

"Of course she wanted to come back to Thailand but I knew [at that time] it was impossible since we were close¬ly followed," Jenkins said.

Jenkins, in Thailand for an international seminar on "North Korea: Abduction and Refugees", spoke about the lives of abductees he had seen when he lived in the secretive communist state.

The American deserted to North Korea in 1965 while serving in the demilitarised zone on the border between North and South Korea. He married a Japanese woman, Hitomi Soga, in 1980, under the restriction of only being allowed to have sex twice a month. They have a daughter.

Jenkins said he met Anocha with her American husband Larry Abshier when they moved near him in 1980.

Anocha was abducted from a Macao hotel, allegedly to teach the Thai language to North Korean spies.

Jenkins showed the semi¬nar a picture of his family and Anocha taken at a beach in Vong Son in 1984 - a year after her husband Abshier died.

Pyongyang has denied its agents abducted Anocha and said such pictures could have been taken anywhere.

Jenkins said: "I said that in 39 years, six months and four days in North Korea, I have never crossed any border. I may have had a chance but I didn't go because I could not leave my wife and my daughter."

He rejected Pyongyang's dismissal of the picture.

Jenkins believes Anocha is still alive, as North Korean offi¬cials mentioned her once in 2003 before he moved to join his wife in Japan. The officials told Jenkins that if he decided to live in North Korea, he would be allowed to live with Anocha.

Jenkins revealed the story about Anocha in his book "To Tell the Truth" in 2005. It prompted the Thai Foreign Ministry to search ask the North Korean regime about her - but no progress has been made since then.

Anocha's elder brother Sukham Panjoy, a Chiang Mai native, wrote a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il recently, begging Pyongyang to free her. He read the letter at the seminar Sep.18.

Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram handed the let¬ter to his North Korean coun¬terpart Pak Ui Chun in Manila last month.

Supalak Ganjanahundee

The Nation

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