UPDATE: UVA Theta Chi Arrested In North Korea Was Allegedly Stealing A Banner From The Hotel To Join Secret Society

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It was almost two months ago that we first introduced you to this story. It all revolves around Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia Theta Chi who was suspiciously detained in North Korea shortly before he was scheduled to leave the lovely land of Kim Jong-un.

Warmbrier made his first public appearance today and we finally received the details of the alleged offenses that led to his arrest. Despite the uproar being shot out of Kim Jong-un’s ass, the so-called “hostile” act he committed was attempting to steal a banner from the hotel at which he was staying during his trip. The banner was hung on a wall in a staff area and featured a political slogan, obviously a crime worthy of creating an international incident.

From CNN:

North Korea accuses Warmbier of surfing the Internet to study different DPRK political slogans and plotting to steal one by folding it up on a thin rectangular metal sheet, and concealing it in his suitcase.

The official says Warmbier put on “quiet shoes” he brought from the United States and just before 2 a.m. on January 1, 2016, entered the staff-only second floor of the hotel intending to steal a sign or banner with a political slogan.

“The slogan was bigger than he had thought. So he couldn’t take it away and turned it upside down and deserted (it) on the floor when he had pulled it from the hangers,” the official said.

While the true reason he attempted to steal the banner is unknown, North Korea is claiming he attempted the crime in order to gain membership into UVA’s secretive Z Society, a claim the society rejects.

North Korea also alleges Warmbier met last year with a member of Z Society, a secretive philanthropic organization at UVA which is known to paint their symbol “Z” around university grounds. Warmbier was allegedly told he could gain membership to the selective organization if he carried out his “mission.” North Korea alleges that the Z Society has links to the CIA.

A member of the Z Society at UVA told CNN the organization sought to anonymously recognize students who contributed positively to the university. The source said the group had never had any contact with Warmbier and he’d never been approached to be a member.

The source also dismissed suggestions the group had any affiliation with the CIA.

I’m split on this accusation. On one hand, a secret society would certainly love to have their hands on a stolen banner from one of the world’s most isolated nations. Of course they would deny the claims. Putting the spotlight on a secretive organization is the exact opposite of how they’d like to operate. Yet, if we examine this from North Korea’s point-of-view, they have nothing to lose and a lot to gain. Attempting to drag in a well-known secret society and even a Methodist church could seemingly add credibility to their claim, regardless of its truthfulness.

Warmbrier was marched to a table of microphones by North Korean guards before reciting a seemingly contrived speech begging for forgiveness from the North Korean people.

“I apologize to each and every one of the millions of the Korean people and I beg that you see how I was used and manipulated,” Warmbier said. “My reward for my crime was so much smaller than the rewards that the Z Society and the Friendship United Methodist Church get from the United States Administration.”

Warmbier is also seen in the video sobbing and pleading for forgiveness, and bowing deeply to apologize.

“I never, never should have allowed myself to be lured by the United States administration to commit a crime in this country. I wish that the United States administration never manipulate people like myself in the future to commit crimes against foreign countries. I entirely beg you, the people and government of the DPRK, for your forgiveness. Please! I made the worst mistake of my life!”

This is only getting weirder by the day.

[via CNN]

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