The sister of an American sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean labor camp reacted angrily on Tuesday to comments made to CNN by former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman that her brother, Washington resident Kenneth Bae, had been rightfully imprisoned.
“We were just shocked and totally appalled and couldn’t believe he would make those remarks when he doesn’t know anything about Kenneth or his detainment,” said Bae’s sister, Terri Chung, of Edmonds.
Bae, who had been based in China and was working legally in North Korea, running guided tours of the country, when he was taken into custody in November 2012. He was tried for crimes against North Korea and sentenced to 15 years in a labor camp.
According to Chung, he was the only American to serve time in the camp until experiencing serious health issues.
Rodman, who has called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a good “friend” is in the country to play exhibition basketball. He originally said he would use his position to advocate for Bae’s release, but seemed to reverse his position on Tuesday when he angrily responded to questions about Bae from CNN Anchor Chris Cuomo.
In interviews with Seattle media, Chung said Rodman’s words were unacceptable.
“He was in a position to do some good, which he has not done. That’s his prerogative, but for him to go on to hurl these accusations is not acceptable.”