Won-Moon Joo: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Won-Moon Joo, North Korea, South Korea


South Korean national Won-Moon Joo of New Jersey wanted to be the straw that stirred Korea’s political commentary so he swam across a river and traversed barbed-wire fence to sneak into ultra-secretive North Korea with the intent of getting caught. He accomplished his goal.

Here is what we know about Won-Moon Joo:

1. The North Korean Military Arrested Joo on April 22

Won Man Joo, North Korea, South Korea

Yalu River between China and North Korea (screengrab)

North Korea didn’t announce Joo’s capture until May 2. The New York Times reported that state-controlled Korean Central News Agency said Joo crossed the Yalu River from China “without authorization.” South Korea called on Pyongyang to release Joo and all other political prisoners immediately.

2. He is a Business Student at NYU

Won Man Joo, North Korea, South Korea

NYU’s Stern School of Business (Google map)

3. University Says He Took This Semester Off

NYU Stern is…NYU Stern is… * Influencing Global Markets * Connecting Business and Society * Shaping Policy Through Research Learn more about NYU Stern at stern.nyu.edu and follow us on Twitter @NYUStern2013-09-04T19:48:34.000Z

NYU spokesman John Beckman told the Times in an email that a Won-Moon Joo was enrolled at the Stern School Business. “He is not taking classes this semester, and the university was unaware of his travels.”

4. Koreans Flocked to Social Media After His Stunt

It may be hard to read this unless you speak the language but Koreans have been lighting up the blogosphere after Joo’s capture.

5. He Told CNN ‘I’m Fine and Well’

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If recent history is an indication, Joo should be released just as Americans Kennth Bae and Matthew Todd Miller were last November after North Korea detained them on “anti-state” charges.
Joo told his family through CNN that he’s “well” and that there’s “no need to worry.”

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