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Peter Hahn

Peter Hahn, a 73-year old Korean-American aid worker, was arrested December 9th, 2014 on charges of embezzlement and possession of fraudulent receipts. After escaping from North Korea many years ago, he has lived and worked for over a decade in Tumen City, which is located along the border of North Korea and China. There he ran a Christian school and aid agency that provided supplies to the poor in North Korea.

Chinese authorities began visiting Peter in April of 2014, asking questions about his life and humanitarian work. In July of that year, the police closed his vocational training school and five-storey building. In an effort to satisfy the authorities, Peter wrote a long document detailing his escape from North Korea, his move to the United States, and subsequent return to China to help those in need who were residing within his former homeland. Despite these efforts, Peter and his wife Eunice had their bank accounts frozen by authorities. Their cars and delivery truck were also confiscated.

Peter, who maintains his innocence, is likely to face trial within months. The maximum sentence for the two crimes is 12 years in prison. In a recent interview, Eunice shared, "I never thought (my husband) would get detained; my heart beats very hard when I imagine how bad his circumstances are." She is particularly concerned for her husband's health, as he suffered two strokes last year and is diabetic. "When I was with him, I would always take care of his food and medicine," she explained. "Now he is in jail, (and) obviously they're not going to take care of his health, even though they say they have a doctor there."

Peter's arrest came just a few months after authorities detained a Canadian couple, Kevin and Julie Garratt, who had lived in the border town of Dandong since 1984. At the time of the Garratts' arrest, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the couple was "under investigation for suspected theft of state secrets about China's military and national defense research." The Chinese Foreign Ministry has offered no reason for the apparent crackdown on Christians working in border towns between the two countries.

First, let us thank the Lord for the love and dedicated service demonstrated by Peter, Kevin and Julie for those in need within North Korea. As Peter and his legal team now prepare for his upcoming trial, pray that God will grant them great peace and wisdom. May the authorities involved seek justice for Peter so that the charges will be dropped and he can resume his vital ministry work.

You can encourage Peter during his time of trial by writing him a letter. Please send your note to VOMC's office (see address in the footer of this email), and it will be forwarded on to Peter. Your notes and prayers will make a difference in this dear brother's life!