S. Korea confirms kidnapped official safe

Updated: 2014-01-21 10:54


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SEOUL - South Korean government on Tuesday confirmed that its trade official kidnapped in Libya was safe up to now, Yonhap news agency reported on Tuesday.

Han Seok-woo, the head of the Libya unit of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), was kidnapped by four unidentified armed men in Libya's capital city Tripoli at around 5:30 pm Sunday Libyan time on his way home after work.  

A South Korean government official told reporters on Tuesday that Han was safe, adding that there are various possibilities regarding the motive of the kidnap and it was not sure at present whether the kidnappers have certain political appeals.

The official didn't give information about Han's current location or whether the kidnappers have already contacted South Korean authorities.

The South Korean foreign ministry has established an emergency task force to win the early release of Han and required Libyan government to work together to locate the kidnappers and free the trade official.

Han, 39, has worked in the Tripoli office since July 2012.

It was the first time that a South Korean has been abducted in Libya, where public security has been in a poor state.

Since the ouster of Libya's long-time leader Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, the country remained in shambles despite authorities' efforts to quell rising lawlessness and impose authority.