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Q: Learn from Otto! Because it only starts in China.

Doctors: Ex-North Korea detainee Otto Warmbier has severe brain injury

Yes I'm sure most have heard the sad news of Otto, as a father myself I just can't imagine what they went through.

So we owe it to Otto to spread the word to foreigners living and working in China that going to North Korea for a thriller trip isn't worth it nor should we even give them a penny or a second of our time.

Now a little background fact: China is the only place that flies foreigners to North Korea, so travel ads are posted on Wechat, QQ and travel agents, even seen them post ads in Hong Kong.

So to all foreigners please for respect to Otto and you're own safety please don't book a trip to North Korea, I know 6000元 isn't alot of money but don't spend it risking your life, please remember what Ottos father said: He was a target at the airport from day one. Yes he pulled a childish stunt that led to this but that's no excuse for what they did to him.

Here is a Wechat ad, this is real and I hope you never book a trip out of respect to Otto and your own safety, yes yes yes yes I know most would probably be fine but "what if" you were the unlucky one?

http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/IgWplzAb49bucUIVGUFl9w

I'm an American with a really big heart, and if I ran into Kim one day at some China event or tour I would put all the power I had for Otto to make sure a coma wasn't even an option for Kim.

2 years 1 day ago in  Transport & Travel - China

 
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Unfortunately we grow up too fucking coddled. We distrust our media and politicians openly (for good reason) so when we hear how fucked up NK is and think oh they're just BSing. We need to learn to not take our countries' for granted.

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2 years 1 day ago
 
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I can't decide if Dennis Rodman is just unbelievably naive, a massive egoist, ignorant or just plain greedy (being paid to chum up to Fatty). Whatever way you look at it, he normalises relationships with brutal reigimes.

 

north Korea has long been on my list of places i will never visit.

over the last few years the Philippines and Turkey have been added to my 'no go' list as i feel that even being a tourist in some way legitimieses the increasingly repressive reigimes.

 at the risk of being accused of being a hypocrite, thankfully my short time working here is almost up and i can return to work the remainder of my contract at home.

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2 years 1 day ago
 
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Unfortunately we grow up too fucking coddled. We distrust our media and politicians openly (for good reason) so when we hear how fucked up NK is and think oh they're just BSing. We need to learn to not take our countries' for granted.

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2 years 1 day ago
 
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We are lucky that: 

 

- many countries around the world don't have such press coverage as USA has as Iraq. Afghanistan, Syria ...;

 

- many countries around the world don't act the same as Pot Belly Jr. if accusations of Otto's torture are fact;

  ---> pay attention to the word 'torture' and remember CIA's & Guantanamo and other covered sites around EU and ME .... 

 

I don't want to be insensitive, but don't you think this is 'reap&sow'?

 

Syria:

 

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-15/un-just-accused-us-killing-300-...

 

According to a U.N. Commission of Inquiry tasked with investigating violations of international war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria, the intensification of airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition has led to a “staggering loss of civilian life,” the Guardian reports.

The U.N. war crimes investigators found that since the acceleration of airstrikes in the Syrian city of Raqqa commenced last week, 300 civilians have already died. This statistic arguably makes Bashar al-Assad pale in comparison; Assad’s regime reportedly kills approximately 20-50 people in any given week.

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2 years 1 day ago
 
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Jesus, you got to feel for the guy, and more so his family.

 

I was just reading comments on facebook about Otto. So many people are pissed off and saying it's unfair, the kid just stole a poster, no big deal, they're breaking international laws and some stuff about human rights etc........but they don't seem to understand what NK is. There is no fair or unfair there. The more they were criticized for holding him the more they probably beat him as payback.

 

When you go somewhere like that - especially being an American given the relations between the two countries - you mind your manners, keep your head down and obey the law because the consequences will be terrible if you don't.

 

I really think a lot of people just don't understand that. They think that if they fuck up they'll just go to detention and write 'I'm a bad boy' 500 times or something and they'll have a cool story to tell their friends and maybe some wicked selfies of them in a cell until they're allowed to leave because where they're from, they have human rights and laws that apply everywhere.

 

Poor Otto, he would have been told about the legal situation there but maybe didn't fully understand his fragile position when he decided to steal a poster.

He'll be another cautionary tale for travelers, like the foreigners who are caught smuggling drugs into Indonesia or the people who disregard the signs at the zoo and climb over the fence into the tiger enclosure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 years 1 day ago
 
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(About the company that brought Otto there)

The North Koreans lure Americans to travel to North Korea via tour groups, run out of China, who advertise slick ads on the internet proclaiming, ‘No American ever gets detained on our tours’ and ‘This is a safe place to go,’” he said.

After Otto Warmbier was medically evacuated to the United States, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said the administration was considering restrictions on American travel to North Korea.

Tourism in North Korea is tightly controlled by the government, and it is an important source of funds for the isolated nation’s economy; China said more than 237,000 of its citizens visited in 2012. But about 4,000 to 5,000 Western tourists visit annually too, drawn by the promise of an adventure far from the typical tourist trail. About 20 percent of them are from the United States, according to tour operators.

Young Pioneer Tours is one of a handful of companies authorized to organize trips to North Korea. Its website says it is based in the Chinese city of Xi’an and run by people from several countries including , Australia, Britain, China and New Zealand. It advertises “budget tours to destinations your mother wants you to stay away from,” including “the first North Korean booze cruise and beer festival.”

Asia Pacific

Otto Warmbier Came Home in a Coma. Travel Company Says North Korea Is ‘Extremely Safe!’

Tourists and their guides visiting the Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang, North Korea, in April.
ED JONES / AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE — GETTY IMAGES
By AUSTIN RAMZY and CHOE SANG-HUN
JUNE 16, 2017
The website of Young Pioneer Tours anticipates a frequently asked question about North Korea: “How safe is it?”

“Extremely safe!” the company replies, in an answer that remained on its site without qualification even after the return this week of one of its customers, Otto F. Warmbier, in a coma with what doctors described Thursday as “extensive loss of brain tissue in all regions of his brain.”

Mr. Warmbier, 22, a student at the University of Virginia, traveled to Pyongyang on a trip organized by Young Pioneer Tours in December 2015 and was imprisoned over alleged efforts to remove a propaganda sign from his hotel. For more than a year, North Korea declined diplomats’ requests to visit him. Then on Tuesday, it abruptly released him on “humanitarian grounds.”

Many questions remain about Mr. Warmbier’s precipitous decline in health, including whether he had been repeatedly beaten, as one senior American official suggested, citing recent intelligence reports, or slipped into a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill, as North Korean diplomats asserted. It is also unclear why North Korea kept Mr. Warmbier’s condition a secret for so long and chose to release him now.

But the case has prompted fresh scrutiny of the agencies — many of them based in China — that take foreign tourists to North Korea and calls for new restrictions on travel to the country, where three other American citizens are still being held on charges of ill-defined crimes against the authoritarian state.

Fred Warmbier, Otto’s father, lashed out at Young Pioneer Tours at an emotional news conference on Thursday. “The North Koreans lure Americans to travel to North Korea via tour groups, run out of China, who advertise slick ads on the internet proclaiming, ‘No American ever gets detained on our tours’ and ‘This is a safe place to go,’” he said.

After Otto Warmbier was medically evacuated to the United States, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said the administration was considering restrictions on American travel to North Korea.

Tourism in North Korea is tightly controlled by the government, and it is an important source of funds for the isolated nation’s economy; China said more than 237,000 of its citizens visited in 2012. But about 4,000 to 5,000 Western tourists visit annually too, drawn by the promise of an adventure far from the typical tourist trail. About 20 percent of them are from the United States, according to tour operators.

Young Pioneer Tours is one of a handful of companies authorized to organize trips to North Korea. Its website says it is based in the Chinese city of Xi’an and run by people from several countries including , Australia, Britain, China and New Zealand. It advertises “budget tours to destinations your mother wants you to stay away from,” including “the first North Korean booze cruise and beer festival.”

Otto Warmbier at the Supreme Court in Pyongyang in March 2016.
JON CHOL JIN / ASSOCIATED PRESS
Phone calls and emails to the company’s offices went unanswered on Friday. But a managing director, Troy Collings, was quoted saying the company is “obviously extremely upset” and defending travel to North Korea as safe.

“We have had one arrest in ten years and have safely taken over 8,000 other tourists to the country,” Mr. Collings wrote in an email to NK News, an online publication that covers North Korea. “We still believe it’s a safe country to visit — tourists are not targets for crime, or terrorist attack.”

He added that the company required its clients to read and sign documents about North Korean laws and customs, including warnings not to disrespect the nation’s political ideology or leaders and to stay clear of “staff only” areas.

But Young Pioneer’s website presents a cheerier view of travel to North Korea than many of its competitors, describing it as “probably one of the safest places on Earth to visit.”

Unlike some competitors, it makes no mention of the United States State Department’s travel advisory that “strongly warns” Americans against traveling to North Korea because of the “serious risk of arrest and long-term detention.” Instead, the website asks: “I’m American. Is this a problem?” and answers, “Not at all!”

Adam Pitt, a British citizen who lives in Dubai and traveled with Young Pioneer to North Korea in 2013, said people on the tour drank excessively and asked inappropriate sexual questions of a female North Korean guide. The company’s co-founder, Gareth Johnson, did nothing to stop the behavior and was also drinking, he added.

“North Korea is not a budget destination,” Mr. Pitt said by email. “It’s not a place where you cut costs, and it’s not a place where you want to take risks.”

Anthony Ruggiero, a former State Department and Treasury Department official who is now a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, said the United States should sanction tour companies that promote travel to North Korea as safe and impose limits on visit by Americans.

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2 years 1 day ago
 
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Can't believe the nerve of Dennis Rodman, he left North Korea this morning and his last words were: I send out my prayers and best wishes to the students family!

It's like he was almost taking credit for his release in a sarcastic kind of way.

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2 years 15 hours ago
 
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News: It is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home. Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died today at 2:20 p.m.," the statement said.

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1 year 51 weeks ago
 
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