• Kyodo

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A former North Korean soldier facing trial on a charge of molesting a girl was found hanged in a police cell here Thursday, police sources said.

Min Hong Gu, 41, had been detained at Utsunomiya Chuo Police Station since Feb. 23 after he escaped from the Utsunomiya Detention House.

Min, who had South Korean nationality, had been held in the detention center since being charged with molesting the girl at a department store in Utsunomiya in April.

He entered Japan in October 1983 by stowing away on the Japanese freighter Fujisan Maru No. 18, which was traveling between Japan and North Korea. The government granted Min special residency status in 1988.

When the Fujisan Maru returned to the North Korean port of Nampo in November 1983, the North Koreans arrested five of the freighter’s crew members, all of them Japanese, for alleged espionage. North Korea released three of the crew members in 1984, but the other two were not released until 1990.

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