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North Korea detains US citizen, now holds 3

SEOUL -- North Korea said Friday it had detained a U.S. tourist for “hostile activities” after he reportedly left a bible at a hotel, bringing to three the number of Americans held by the reclusive regime including missionary Kenneth Bae.

The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a brief report that Jeffrey Edward Fowle was being questioned by authorities after violating visa regulations.

“U.S. citizen in custody for committing anti-DPRK (North Korea) hostile activities,” KCNA said in its headline accompanying the story.

The agency said Fowle had entered the country as a tourist on April 29 and “acted in violation of the DPRK (North Korea) law, contrary to the purpose of tourism during his stay.”

“A relevant organ of the DPRK detained him and is investigating him,” it added.

Japanese news agency Kyodo, citing diplomatic sources, said the detainee had been part of a tour group and was held in mid-May after he left a bible at the hotel he was staying at.

The report said he was about to leave the country.

Fowle is the third U.S. citizen known to be currently detained by the North.

The two others include 24-year-old U.S. tourist Matthew Todd Miller, who was arrested in April after he apparently ripped up his visa at immigration and demanded asylum in the communist state.

Kenneth Bae, described by a North Korean court as a militant Christian evangelist, is also being held in the North after he was arrested in November 2012 and sentenced to 15 years' hard labor on charges of seeking to topple the government.

U.S. efforts to secure Bae's release have so far been unsuccessful.

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