Saturday, 26 April 2014

That American Nutcase

Back about two weeks ago....at the North Korea/South Korea border, there is a tourist control entry point.  Yeah, I know....it's odd that tourists actually want to come and enter North Korea, but it does happen.  There's only a couple of standard tours and you need to get things worked out weeks ahead of time with visa paperwork and hotel reservations.

Well....at the checkpoint, there's this American guy.....Miller Matthew Todd.  Little is known about Mister Todd, his hometown, his occupation, or his medications.  He's apparently around twenty-five years old and decided that North Korea would be a fine place to vacation.

For some reason, just as he was entering North Korea (across that red line stuff).....he tore up his tourist visa and announced he was there seeking asylum.  Generally, there just aren't many folks who seek to live in North Korea so they assumed some worst case scenario.  The cops seized Mister Todd, tossing him into some criminal facility and charging him with 'gross violation of North Korea order' (a pretty good generic phase for doing stupid crap).

Little is said over his condition or his state of mind.  The US doesn't have any ambassador office in North Korea.....so they tend to use the Swedish ambassador who is there, and he's not having much luck in seeing Mister Todd.

My general guess here is that Mister Todd is a guy on various medications....not exactly stable.....and had a fair amount of money to make this type of reserved vacation.  I doubt if anyone could go to South Korea (flight included), and do this North Korea hotel tour deal....for less than $5,000.  His relatives are probably a bit upset and wondering what the heck he was thinking.  And I'm guessing that after two weeks in a North Korean jail.....maybe he's come to some new mental situation.....realizing that this was all a big screw-up.

What will happen?  I'd generally bet on some authority in North Korea coming out by late June and suggest that Mister Todd is in a healthy state of mind now, and generally cooperating.  It'll take two months for North Korea to feel sure that he's just a nut and they really don't have much to fear.  Then the problem is....who will give permission for him to return to South Korea?  Only the head guy.....I fear.  This will mean a bunch of folks talking about the problem, and finally one guy asking if it's ok to let the American nut go home.

The future problem I see....is that North Korea will probably want to have some doctor's note attached to each tourist visa.....saying the guy or gal isn't on medication.  Just another painful thorn in simplified travel plans.

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