A Canadian pastor has spoken publicly for the first time since his release from imprisonment in North Korea last week.
Hyeon Soo Lim, 62, spoke at length in Korean after attending a Sunday service at his church in Mississauga, Ont., near Toronto.
During the service, at Light Presbyterian Church, 6965 Professional Court, near Derry Road East and Goreway Drive, he sat at the front of the church, accompanied by his son and infant granddaughter.
On Saturday, Lim was reunited with his family in Ontario after more than two years in detention in North Korea. The country originally sentenced him to death, but that sentence was commuted to a life of hard labour.
In a prepared statement in English, Lim said he endured harsh conditions, was hospitalized four times and was forced to dig holes in frozen ground while detained.
Lim said experienced “overwhelming loneliness” during the more than two years he spent in detention. He described in detail the “difficult moments” he suffered while digging holes outside and breaking apart coal inside a facility.
“From the first day of my detainment to the day I was released, I ate 2,757 meals in isolation by myself. It was difficult to see when and how the entire ordeal would end,” Lim said.
“During the winter, I had to dig holes that measured one metre wide and one metre deep. The ground was frozen. The mud was so hard that it took two days to dig one hole. It was incredibly challenging. My upper body was sweating; My fingers and toes were frostbitten. I also worked inside a coal storage facility, breaking apart coal,” he said.