July 23, 2008

Seoul Says South Koreans Freed After Joint Efforts With Mexico

Text of report in English by South Korean news agency Yonhap

Seoul, 23 July: Five South Koreans held hostage in Mexico were freed Wednesday [23 July](KST), a Foreign Ministry official in Seoul said, following joint efforts by the two governments to secure their release.

"They were safely released at 9 a.m. [2400 gmt] in the morning," the official said, adding the South Koreans were in custody of Mexican police.

"The Mexican authorities have applied strong pressure after identifying the captors," the official said without elaborating. "The South Koreans will soon be handed over to South Korean embassy officials."

Five South Koreans, including one female, were taken by unidentified men demanding a ransom in a Mexican border city last week, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Originally published by Yonhap news agency, Seoul, in English 0103 23 Jul 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Newsfile. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.