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(LEAD) U.S. man caught trying to swim to N. Korea

10:49 September 17, 2014

(ATTN: ADDS more info throughout)

SEOUL, Sept. 17 (Yonhap) -- A young American man has been caught trying to swim across a river border into North Korea, a government source said Wednesday.

The man was arrested by Marine sentries at around 11:55 p.m. on Tuesday while he was swimming across the Han River, which borders with North Korea, the source said.

The river cuts through the South Korean capital of Seoul and its adjacent county of Gimpo into the Yellow Sea.

During an interrogation following the arrest, the U.S. citizen of Arabic descent said "I was trying to go to North Korea in order to meet with supreme leader Kim Jong-un," according to the source.

The U.S. citizen, in his late 20s or early 30s, was undergoing questioning by state intelligence agents over his motives, he added.

The latest incident marks the first case of a U.S. citizen trying to enter the North through the border area in Gimpo, according to the source.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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