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  1. American Arrestee Interviewed
  2.  
  3. Otto Frederick Warmbier, student at the University of Virginia, the US, was interviewed with domestic and foreign journalists in Pyongyang on February 29. He was arrested for committing anti-DPRK hostile acts.
  4. Present there were domestic and foreign journalists, members of foreign diplomatic missions and missions of international bodies in the DPRK and overseas Koreans staying in the homeland.
  5. Warmbier spoke first. He said:
  6. First, I would like to thank everyone for sparing the precious time to come to the press conference that I eagerly requested to have. I would like to also show my sincere gratitude to the government of the DPRK for giving me this opportunity to apologize for my crime, to beg for your forgiveness, and to beg for assistance in any way possible to save my life.
  7. On December 29, 2015, I entered the DPRK as a tourist.
  8. On January 1, 2016, New Year’s, I committed severe crimes against both the people and the government of the DPRK. Due to this crime, on January 2, 2016 I was detained and I am currently under investigation.
  9. My name is Otto Frederick Warmbier. I am 21 years old. I am a student of finance at the University of Virginia. I am in my third year of the university. My residential address is 225 West Hill Lane, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States with my family. At the moment, I live in a rented apartment at 600 Preston Place, Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, near my university. My father, Frederick Warmbier, owns a very small factory called Cincinnati Black Oxide that barely makes us support my family. My mother, Cindy Warmbier, is a housewife. I am the oldest son in my family. My brother, Austin Warmbier and my younger sister, Greta Warmbier, are high school students in Cincinnati, Ohio, US.
  10. On January 1, 2016, I committed the crime of taking out a political slogan from the staff-only area of the Yanggakdo International Hotel. The slogan inspires the peoples’ love for their system.
  11. The task was given to me by the Friendship United Methodist Church. At the encouragement of the Z Society and the connivance of the US Administration, I commit this crime task. The aim of this crime was to harm the work ethic and motivation of the Korean people. This was a very foolish aim.
  12. Growing up in the United States, I was taught that DPRK is a mysterious, isolated communist nation from education and mass media. This viewpoint made an innocent-thinking adventurous man, like myself, want to show my bravery in the mysterious country to improve my reputation and show a Western victory over the DPRK. I was told by colleagues that North Korea is very beautiful country with great architecture and that if I was interested in communist nations, I needed to consider a visit. Based on this recommendation, I started to consider a visit.
  13. Then, I was scheduled to take part in a university-sponsored financial class in Hong Kong in January 2016. I decided to use this opportunity to visit the DPRK as a tourist before my financial class.
  14. I asked both my father and brother to travel with me while I emailed both UK Koryo Tours and UK Young Pioneer Tours in August 2015, but it was too expensive and they were very busy, so they could not travel with me. I chose Young Pioneer Tours, because it was cheaper. I gave my father $800 and he agreed to pay the other $400, which covered the full $1 200 cost of a Young Pioneer’s tour of the DPRK. Based on my application’s confirmation, I chose to have my tour at the end of December 2015.
  15. Then, on September 23, 2015, I was having dinner at my friend Stefan Webb’s home. Stefan is a high school classmate. I have known him for 10 years and we live nearby. We were very close friends. He currently attends Ohio State University. His mother, Sharon Webb, was also at the dinner. Sharon Webb is a deaconess in the Friendship United Methodist Church and her son, Stefan Webb, is an active believer in this church.
  16. Sharon emphasized that her church does not support the government of North Korea and that communism should be ended. She said that communist nations rally around slogans. She asked me to take an important political slogan from North Korea to be hung in her church as a trophy. She continued to say that by taking this slogan, we would weaken the unity of the North Korean people and show an insult from the West.
  17. She knew how desperately I needed a car to drive to my job this summer, so she offered me a used car worth $10 000 if I was successful. And she said if I was detained and not returned, the church would pay $200 000 to my mother in a way of charitable donations. This is the amount I am expected to pay for my brother and sister’s university tuition out of the $400 000 total. Then she showed me the Friendship United Methodist Church’s official bank account statement with $42 million.
  18. At first, due to fear, I was hesitant. But since my family suffered from very severe financial difficulties, I started to consider this as my only golden opportunity to earn money. Most importantly, Sharon said never to mention the Friendship United Methodist Church or no payments would come.
  19. In early October 2015, I informed my mother very little of my crime attempt offer, but I told her that I planned to steal something precious from North Korea and if I were detained, transfers would be made to her bank account for my brother and sister’s tuition. She cried and said not to do anything dangerous. I considered less, not wanting to hurt my mother. But since then, I had several alluring pressures from the Friendship united Methodist Church, leading me to finally decide on my crime attempt.
  20. In the meantime, the Z Society also clandestinely encouraged my act. After I came to know that all members of the Z Society go on after their graduation to become very wealthy with high paying jobs, I eagerly wanted to join the Z society. In late November 2015, I intentionally revealed my plan of my act to a member of Z Society member who is also a student at the University of Virginia. He said that my plan of action would certainly help the Z society’s goal of spreading freedom and eliminating tyranny. He promised me if I were successful, he would help me gain membership in the Z Society. He even said the Z society could help pressure North Korea for my release if I were caught. Finally, he said never to mention the Z Society’s encouragement.
  21. After I planned in detail to accomplish my plan, I arrived in Pyongyang on December 29, 2015 through Beijing. On the early morning of January 1, 2016, I committed the crime of taking out the important political slogan from the staff only area of the Yanggakdo international Hotel, aimed at harming the work ethic and motivation of the Korean people. After committing my crime against the people and government of the DPRK, on January 2, 2016 I was detained at the Pyongyang International Airport.
  22. I was clearly given the task by the Friendship United Methodist Church. The Z Society encouraged my crime. The US Administration already knows about my act through the CIA, which is closely linked to the Z Society, and connived at my crime. My crime is very severe and pre-planned. I regret my actions more than anything. I apologize to both the Korean people and government. I beg for forgiveness in any way possible. I also beg for any help in saving my life.
  23. Thank you very much for your attention during my speech.
  24. Q1. Details of the Friendship United Methodist Church
  25. Thank you for your question.
  26. I will now explain the Friendship United Methodist Church’s involvement in my crime.
  27. I have known about the Friendship United Methodist Church since my childhood because I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, US. You can easily find detailed information on the Friendship United Methodist Church on the internet.
  28. The Friendship United Methodist Church is not a typical church. It is very wealthy, with $42 million. That is why, it has very close connections with the US Administration. This church made a plan to enter into anti-Christian countries, which the US Administration dislikes, with the aims of increasing its power, and it is implementing this plan. Several democratic Congressmen visit the church regularly to collect political fund donations and assure their continuous support to the church’s policies. It is said that in 2008, around $10 million, around 2-3 % of Barack Obama’s total election costs, was collected from this church. That is one of the reasons why the US Administration works closely with the church and connives at all acts, including my crime.
  29. The politicians and US Administration works very closely with the Friendship United Methodist Church to harm the DPRK by all dirty means and ways. The Friendship Uunited Methodist Church gave me the crime task, which is matched to the US hostile policy against the DPRK, in order to spread Christianity in the DPRK and to increase the support from the US Administration. Therefore, my crime task was the expected output of the US Administration’s consistent hostile policy against the DPRK and its implementation by the Friendship United Methodist Church.
  30. I was easily manipulated since my family suffers from severe financial difficulties, and since I am a non- believer, the church thought it could deny its involvement if my crime would become public news.
  31. I hope that makes the Friendship United Methodist Church’s involvement in my crime very clear.
  32. Thank you all very much for your attention.
  33. Q2. Details of the Z Society
  34. Thank you for the question.
  35. I will now explain in detail the Z Society and its involvement in my crime.
  36. The Z Society is the most secret organization at the University of Virginia. All members and activities are strictly confidential. In September 2013, when I first started at the University of Virginia, I saw large Z crests painted on all buildings of the compound. You can see them for yourselves if you choose to visit. I was told that they are from the Z Society, because the Society donates millions of dollars to the University. It has about 10 student members currently. And after graduation, they all go on to become very wealthy with jobs in politics, business, and religion. Members of the Z Society include the former US president Woodrow Wilson and a former head of the CIA. The objective of the Z Society is to spread freedom and eliminate tyranny.
  37. In order to become members, they must have good grades and leadership, and most importantly, they must commit a brave act to help with the Society’s goal of spreading freedom and eliminating tyranny. Once again, all members and activities are strictly confidential.
  38. It is clear that the members of the Z Society knew of my good grades and leadership. It is clear that they also knew I eagerly wanted to join the Z Society in order to solve my family’s desperate financial problems. Because of this, they expected me to commit a brave act to help eliminate tyranny. I planned to show my braveness through my crime in the DPRK in order to gain membership in the Z Society.
  39. As you know from the Cold War-Era example, the CIA has always been leading anti-communism in every place in the world. There is no doubt that the CIA knows of the Z Society’s encouragement.
  40. Lastly, I want to clearly say that I was the political victim of the US Administration’s hostile policy against the DPRK. I innocently tried to earn money through my crime. In order to accomplish its political interests, the US Administration does not distinguish between friendly and enemy countries. Therefore, they manipulate people, like myself, to commit crimes in those countries. I wish that other United States citizens do not follow in my footsteps.
  41. I hope that answers your question and makes the Z Society’s encouragement of my crime very clear.
  42. Thank you all again for your attention.
  43. Q3. Preparation in the United States
  44. Thank you for your question.
  45. I will now explain the preparation that I made for my crime in the DPRK while I was in the United States.
  46. While I was in the US, I took many detailed steps to prepare for my crime in the DPRK. In order to learn more about slogans in the DPRK, I did internet Google images search with key words "North Korea Slogan" in my rented Virginia apartment. I saw over 30 images. Some were framed, but I thought that could easily be removed. They were large, red, and rectangular. They were printed on a thin metal that could be folded to put in my suitcase.
  47. On December 23 2015, I stole street signs for practice and I kept them under the bed in my rented Virginia apartment. Then, I discussed with my friend the excuses that I could make: if detained, I planned to say that I was drunk and made a mistake, and if I were spotted with the slogan, I planned to lie and say that I bought it at the souvenir shop. That is why, at the start of the investigation, I tried to falsely state that I was drunk and did not remember.
  48. Then, on December 25, 2015, I made sure to pack my quietest boots which would be the best for sneaking. I knew that I would wear them during my crime commitment. I also chose to bring a large suitcase in order to fit in the slogan and I made plans to buy a new one in the DPRK if necessary.
  49. I hope this answers your question and explains in detail the steps I followed in the United States to prepare for my crime.
  50. Thank you all for your attention.
  51. Q4. Crime in Detail
  52. Thank you for your question.
  53. I will now explain in detail my crime procedure in the DPRK.
  54. On December 27, 2015, I arrived in Beijing and spent 2 days, looking around the city. On December 29, 2015, I met my tour group at the Beijing International Airport and that afternoon we arrived at the Pyongyang International Airport and checked into the Yanggakdo International Hotel.
  55. While in Pyongyang, I prepared additionally for my crime. On the morning of December 30, 2015, I asked my UK tour guide where they keep the important slogans in the Yanggakdo International Hotel. She said they are in staff-only areas. That night, I alone walked around 2nd floor lobby, until I saw a staff-only sign in English opposite the hotel shop. I checked for cameras and saw none. I knew where I would commit my crime. I chose the early morning of January 1, 2016, New Year’s, because I thought there would be less employees because of the holiday. I knew my tour group would be drunk, so I could use my excuse that I was just drunk like them. The next morning, December 31, 2015, I intentionally wore my quietest boots which I prepared while in the US for the entire city tour. Around 1 o’clock A.M, on January 1, 2016, my tour group returned to the Yanggakdo International Hotel after looking at the Pyongyang night view. I took my coat and items up to my room. Around 1.30 A.M, I joined my tour group in the 2nd floor lobby draft beer bar. Then, I snuck away from the bar, and quietly entered the staff-only area. I saw no one there and I saw the desired slogan hanging on the right-side wall near the entrance. I approached the wall and with two hands, I grabbed the slogan at the bottom and removed it from the hangers. It was far bigger and heavier than I had expected. I got very scared and I realized that I could not take the slogan. Hastily, I put it down upside down. I snuck out of that area and I ran up to my room.
  56. I hope that answers your question and explains in detail my crime procedure.
  57. Thank you all very much again for listening.
  58. Q5, Treatment during the Investigation
  59. Thank you very much for your question.
  60. I will now discuss my treatment while I have been in the DPRK.
  61. As an American citizen, who committed a severe crime against DPRK, I had worried that I would get torture and mental pressure. But that was totally my wrong thinking. I have received the most humanitarian treatment in a hotel-class guesthouse, with no torture or mental pressure. I have been given 3 meals daily of high quality, and I was given a full medical check. I am given1 hour daily to walk outside, I am given a weekly sauna bath, and I was given a haircut. I am given more than 8 hours to sleep daily. As you can see, I am healthy, but I miss my family very much. I am very much impressed by the Korean government’s humanitarian treatment of severe criminals like myself and of the fair and square legal procedures in DPRK. I am in the most shame I had in my life for committing a crime in such a friendly country. And at least this press conference will show my family my good health and give them some relief. However, I miss my family so, so much. I know my crime is severe and I have no idea what I can expect as penalty, but I beg that the Korean people and the government forgive me and I pray to the heavens that I may be returned home as soon as possible.
  62. I hope you clearly understand my treatment now.
  63. Thank you all for your attention.
  64. Conclusion
  65. Once again, I want thank all of you for sparing the precious time to come to the press conference that I eagerly requested to have.
  66. I also want again to express my gratitude to the government of the DPRK, for allowing me to have this press conference and this opportunity to beg for forgiveness.
  67. On the morning of January 1, 2016, I made the worst decision of my life, and committed a very severe crime against both the people and the government of the DPRK. I understand the severity of my crime. I acted to harm the ideological basis and unity of this entire country. I am so ashamed of myself for all the harm that I have caused. I entirely beg for any forgiveness.
  68. I want to apologize to each and every one of the millions of the Korean people and I beg that you see how I was used and manipulated. My reward for my crime is so much smaller compared to the rewards that the Friendship United Methodist Church and the Z Society receive from the US Administration.
  69. The US Administration used me, like many before me. I am a victim of the US Administration’s hostile, aggressive policy against the DPRK.
  70. I want to warn those who might follow my precedence to never, never be allured by the US Administration.
  71. I have been very impressed by the Korean government’s humanitarian treatment of severe criminals like myself, and of the very fair and square legal procedures in the DPRK.
  72. Through my tour, I have learned that the reality in the DPRK is very different from the State of Evils that the West tagged.
  73. And I have come to see that the current human right issues in the DPRK, consistently highlighted by the US Administration, is nothing more than a hypocritical attempt to harm and eventually overthrow the government of the DPRK.
  74. My dear US citizens, seeing is believing as the proverb goes. Please come to Pyongyang, which one US citizen long ago described as Eastern Jerusalem. Only then, will you see for yourself and believe me.
  75. Once again I want to beg for forgiveness. Please, people and the government of the DPRK, understand how I was used and manipulated by the US Administration. I beg that you forgive me. I beg you save me. Please do not only think of me. Please think of my family. I am the oldest son. My mother needs me. My father need me. My younger brother and sister need me. I beg that you see that I am human and that I have made the worst mistake of my life. But I beg that you can find it in your hearts to forgive me not only for myself but for my family.
  76. I also beg that journalists accurately and objectively report my story and provide help of any kind. Thank for listening and giving me the opportunity to beg for forgiveness
  77. After this press conference, my family will come to know about my current situation. I am worried that they may be harmed. And, like I was manipulated by the US Administration, I am worried that my family may be harmed or threated by those from the government. I beg for any kind of public protection for my family.
  78. One final time, I want to apologize to the people and the government of the DPRK. I beg that you see how I was used and manipulated. I am a victim of the US Administration’s consistent hostile, aggressive anti-DPRK policy and its implementation. I beg that all American citizens never be used like I was used in the future to harm foreign countries. I beg for your forgiveness, people and government of the DPRK. Please, do not think only of myself. Please consider my family. Please allow me to return to my family.
  79. One final time, government and people of the DPRK, I beg that you can find in your hearts to forgive me.
  80. And my Lord, if you are there, please save this poor and innocent scape-goat.
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