North Korea releases Australian student detained for week: ‘I’m OK’

Australian student Alek Sigley gestures as he arrives at the airport in Beijing on Thursday, July 4, 2019. The Australian student who vanished in North Korea more than a week ago arrived in Beijing on Thursday morning. (Photo: Emily Wang, AP)

CANBERRA, Australia – An Australian student released after a week in detention in North Korea described his condition to reporters in Beijing on Thursday as “very good,” without saying what happened.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced to Parliament that Alek Sigley, 29, had been released hours earlier following intervention from Swedish diplomats on Wednesday, and had been taken to the Australian Embassy in Beijing.

Sigley looked relaxed and gave a peace sign when he arrived at Beijing airport. He did not respond to reporters’ questions about what had happened in Pyongyang.

“I’m OK, I’m OK, I’m good. I’m very good,” Sigley said. Asked how he was feeling, Sigley replied: “Great.”

His father, Gary Sigley, a professor of Asian studies at University of Western Australia, said his son would soon be reunited with his Japanese wife Yuka Morinaga in Tokyo.

Later Thursday, Sigley entered the departure area at Beijing airport, apparently on his way to Tokyo.

“He’s fine. He’s in very good spirits. He’s been treated well,” the father told reporters in his hometown of Perth.

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