(CNN) - Kenneth Bae, a U.S. citizen being held in North Korea, told reporters on Monday that he had committed a "serious crime" in the secretive nation and that he had not experienced abusive treatment by the regime.
"I would like to plead with the U.S. government, press and my family to stop worsening my situation by making vile rumors against North Korea and releasing materials related to me, which are not based on the facts," he said before video cameras in Pyongyang.
"I want to be pardoned by the North as soon as possible and return to my beloved family," Bae told journalists from several news organizations. "For that, I ask the U.S. government, press and my family to make more active efforts and pay more attention."
Bae's family did just that. His sister Terri Chung released a statement that later Monday, at one point, addresses North Korean leaders.
"We understand that Kenneth has been convicted of crimes under (North Korean) laws. Our family sincerely apologizes on Kenneth's behalf. Kenneth has also acknowledged his crimes and has apologized. He has now served 15 months of his sentence, but faces chronic health problems. We humbly ask for your mercy to release my brother."
Chung said the video showed that her brother was worn down.
"In his eyes, I could see that he was distressed," she said.
Any statement made by Bae in captivity would be sanctioned by the North Korean government, whose widespread human rights abuses are known to the world.
The country has a long history of exacting false "confessions."
In December, 85-year-old Merrill Newman, a veteran of the Korean War, was freed from captivity in North Korea after being forced to give a false confession, he said afterward.
"Anyone who has read the text of it or who has seen the video of me reading it knows that the words were not mine and were not delivered voluntarily. Anyone who knows me knows that I could not have done the things they had me 'confess' to," he wrote.
Bae, of Lynwood, Washington, was arrested in November 2012 in Rason along North Korea's northeastern coast. The devout Christian and father of three operated a China-based company specializing in tours of North Korea, according to his family and freekennow.com, a website friends set up to promote his release.
"Several years ago, Kenneth saw an opportunity that combined his entrepreneurial spirit with his personal convictions as a Christian," the site said. "He believed in showing compassion to the North Korean people by contributing to their economy in the form of tourism."
The North Korean government accused Bae of planning to bring down the government through religious activities.
Friday, July 25 2014 3:19 PM EDT2014-07-25 19:19:10 GMT
(WMC) – A prostitution sting was conducted at a Southaven hotel Thursday. As a result, the following 12 people were arrested: Preston K. Mitchell, 52, Memphis, Tenn., charged with procuring prostitutionMore >>
A prostitution sting was conducted at a Southaven hotel Thursday. Twelve people were arrested.More >>
Thursday, July 24 2014 12:04 AM EDT2014-07-24 04:04:58 GMT
The victim of a vicious gang rape is warning other women in the metro area. The victim and her attorney talked about the attack exclusively with WLBT. The 35-year-old woman, whose identity we are protecting,More >>
The victim, whose identity we are protecting, said, "He put the gun to my head and told me to take my clothes off. And that's when I couldn't do nothing. I was just standing there crying. And the other dude came from behind the truck. He put one in my side. And they bent me over in my front seat and they started raping me over and over again." More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 6:53 PM EDT2014-07-25 22:53:59 GMT
In April, two local teens were arrested for a heinous crime. 13 year old Remy Harvey, and 16 year old Eddie Devine were charged with carjacking, kidnapping and raping a woman. She was abducted from herMore >>
Now, the victim is taking owners of the apartment she lived in, to court, claiming they failed to provide proper security for residents. More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 1:44 PM EDT2014-07-25 17:44:34 GMT
A Mississippi couple is behind bars after McComb Police found them living with their two children and the children's grandmother in a rented U-Haul truck that was reported stolen out of New Jersey. That'sMore >>
A Mississippi couple is behind bars after McComb Police found them living with their two children and the children's grandmother in a rented U-Haul truck that was reported stolen.More >>
Saturday, July 26 2014 11:03 AM EDT2014-07-26 15:03:41 GMT
Police are searching for two men who carjacked an SUV and plowed into a group of children and adults selling fruit at a Philadelphia street corner, killing three kids and seriously injuring two women.More >>
Police in Philadelphia are still hunting for a pair of carjackers who rammed a stolen SUV into a family selling fruit for their church, killing three young siblings.More >>
BRADENTON BEACH, FL (WFLX) - People are outraged after a Florida couple was caught having sex on a public beach Sunday afternoon in front of dozens of people including children. Bradenton Beach policeMore >>
People are outraged after a Florida couple was caught having sex on a public beach Sunday afternoon in front of dozens of people including children.More >>
Thursday, July 24 2014 8:29 PM EDT2014-07-25 00:29:10 GMT
A 35-yea-old woman says she was gang raped at a Jackson gas station and employees did nothing to help her. WLBT has surveillance video from the Shell station on Daniel Lake Boulevard, showing JacksonMore >>
WLBT has surveillance video from the Shell station on Daniel Lake Boulevard, showing Jackson Police after they were called to the scene.More >>
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