A private jet of the Canadian government carried a 62-year-old pastor back to his home after being released from a North Korea prison. Hyeon Soo Lim was set free from a labor camp after being imprisoned for 2 years on charges of trying to overthrow the Pyongyang regime.
Lim was freed with the assistance of the Global Affairs Canada and the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The release of Mr. Lim comes after a delegation visited North Korea headed by Daniel Jean, the national security adviser of Trudeau. North Korea released Lim on sick bail though he looked quite healthy as he landed at the air base in CFB Trenton. But his family is going through a series of medical checkups to ensure his health.
Lim had made many trips to North Korea for humanitarian missions working on food and nutrition sustainability. He made over 100 trips over a span of two decades before he was imprisoned in December 2015. The information about his release came up on first on the KCNA news agency of North Korea which cited humanitarian grounds for his release based on poor health. Later Global Affairs called his family to inform about the development and confirm the news.
Lim’s family and the members of his church community were waiting for him at the ground. He got the chance to talk to his son, mother, and wife using a phone on the trip back. James Lim, his son had his daughter with him whom Lim met for the first time. James described the reunion as “surreal” and said it felt amazing to see his dad holding his granddaughter for the first time. In a press conference, James told they were happy and ecstatic that their father has returned home.
Mr. Lim’s health was their main concern and they wanted him to rest and take the time to reconnect with his family and friends. Though the first thing Lim wants to do after reaching home has a relaxing coffee and donut at the popular joint Tim Hortons.
Lim’s experience in North Korea as a prisoner is not available yet but it has strengthened his faith, said James. In the camp, Lim had to eat around 2,700 meals on his own in isolation and he used the time to connect to God. Lim tried to use his time in the best way, which can spend time with God in solitude, said James. The senior pastor will be joining the services in his church and appear before the public. Till then his family wants everyone to respect their privacy and give him time.
James has expressed his gratitude to the government and Global Affairs for facilitating the release of his father.