A Kenyan national traveling to Pyeongchang, South Korea, said he mistakenly boarded an Air China flight to Pyongyang, North Korea, where he was accused of violating the law for traveling without a visa. Photo by Eric Salard/Flickr
Kenyan headed for South Korea accidentally traveled to North Korea
The man, a member of the semi-nomadic Maasai tribe, said he was detained in Pyongyang for several hours before being returned to board the correct flight to South Korea.
By Elizabeth Shim
SEOUL, April 24 (UPI) — An indigenous Kenyan cow herder registered to attend a U.N. biodiversity conference in Pyeongchang, South Korea, said he was detained in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, after booking a wrong flight last September.
Daniel Olomae Ole Sapit, 42, who is from Kenya’s semi-nomadic Maasai tribe, said the similar sounding names had confused him and his travel agent in Kenya, who booked the flight.
“For an African, who can tell the difference?” Sapit told The Wall Street Journal.
According to the Journal and South Korean media, Sapit was eventually allowed to leave North Korea and board the correct flight to South Korea’s Incheon.Kenyan-headed-for-South-Korea-accidentally-traveled-to-North-Korea.jpgport, but only after he signed a North Korean document admitting to violating laws, being detained for several hours, and paying for a new ticket and a fine of $500 for entering North Korea without a visa.
The Kenyan national said he did not suspect anything wrong, even after boarding an Air China flight to Pyongyang, North Korea.
When he glanced out the plane window as he descended, however, the view below struck him as odd.
“It seemed to me a very underdeveloped country,” said Sapit, who was expecting to see the urbanized and industrialized cityscape of South Korea.
After landing at North Korea’s Sunan International Airport, where he saw hundreds of soldiers and portraits of North Korea leaders, he knew he had made a mistake.READ MORE