A Mississauga pastor who was released from prison in North Korea earlier this week is “in good health” and “very, very good spirits” following his return to Canada on Saturday morning, his son says.
Hyeong Soo Lim was released on Wednesday on what North Korean state media described as “sick bail,” two-and-a-half years after being arrested and handed a life sentence for alleged crimes against the state.
Lim subsequently landed back in Canada on Saturday morning and is currently reconnecting with his wife, according to family.
“He is doing very, very well considering everything he has gone through,” Lim’s son James told reporters in Mississauga on Saturday afternoon. “I think he has never felt more Canadian. We were driving back and just looking at the trees and the forest, he was so happy.”
Lim is a pastor with the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga and will attend a service at that church on Sunday in what will be his first public appearance.
Speaking with reporters, James Lim said he hasn’t yet learned much about his father’s time in captivity but knows that his spirit was never broken.
“He was telling me that he had about 2,700 meals on his own. Imagine that, being in isolation and having close to 3,000 meals all by yourself? But through those times he was able to spend time with God in solitude. I would say he tried to make the best of it,” Lim told reporters.
Lim made 104 trips to North Korea to do humanitarian work prior to his arrest back in 2015.
The charges filed against him included harming the dignity of the supreme leadership, trying to use religion to destroy the North Korean system, disseminating negative propaganda about the North to overseas Koreans, and assisting American and South Korean efforts to help people defect from the north.
His release on Wednesday came after a Canadian delegation visited North Korea to discuss his case with officials.
With files from the Canadian Press