Matthew Todd Miller, a 33-year-old man from Bakersfield, California, intentionally sought out arrest in North Korea by tearing up his tourist visa and claiming to be a hacker with military secrets and connections to WikiLeaks.
Matthew Todd Miller was detained in North Korea for committing "acts hostile to the DPRK while entering under the guise of a tourist."
At the time, Miller was 25. The biggest plot twist no one ever saw coming was that the now 33-year-old wanted to get arrested.
The Curious Case of Matthew Todd Miller
Mathew, from Bakersfield, California, traveled to North Korea on 10 April 2014. His goal was to stay there, and he was soon arrested for "unruly behavior."
Later, he confessed that his main fear was “that they would not arrest me when I arrived."
Allegedly, he told the North Korean authorities he was a hacker and had "military secrets." He intended to "remove the American military in South Korea."
He allegedly also claimed he was involved with WikiLeaks, but North Korean authorities never took him seriously. That made them desperate to know what made him come to visit in the first place.
Miler Only Served Two Months
NK News reported that the young man "committed acts hostile to the DPRK while entering the territory of the DPRK under the guise of a tourist."
He was sentenced to six years of hard labor. However, he was released on November 8, 2014, less than two months after sentencing.
Speaking about the experience, Miller said:
"This might sound strange, but I was prepared for the 'torture.' But instead of that, I was killed with kindness, and with that, my mind folded, and the plan fell apart."
What Was Matthew Todd Miller's Motive?
Upon arriving, Miller tore up his tourist visa, prompting reactions from the authorities.
Miller, charged under Article 64 of the North Korean criminal code concerning acts of espionage, said he wanted to experience the real North Korea.
Talking o NK News, the 33-year-old said he wanted to "have a face-to-face with North Koreans to answer my personal questions.
He claims he achieved the goal and insists it was never about politics. He wanted to "connect with the people, not question the government or politics."
Miller never denied espionage charges and instead insisted he "wanted to sit down with them every day and have conversations about everything. I would ask them one question about their country, and they would have a question about mine."
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Today, Miller Regrets His Acts
Miller was released after eight months and called his trip "successful." However, he now calls this expedition a "mistake."
Despite initially refusing help from the US government, he later turned to them to get out of North Korea. It is hard to understand what drove Miller, who further said:
"I was in control of my situation. I knew the risks and consequences. My trip has probably resulted in no change for anyone except for me."
He admitted that he committed one crime:
"I wasted a lot of time of the North Koreans and the Americans of all of the officials who spent time with my case."
Miller also wants to keep the secret of whether he found what he was looking for. Instead, he gave a coy answer: "I might elaborate on that, or I might just keep it as a personal experience."
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