(CNN) - Kenneth Bae, a U.S. citizen being held in North Korea, told reporters on Monday that he had committed a "serious crime" in the secretive nation and that he had not experienced abusive treatment by the regime.
"I would like to plead with the U.S. government, press and my family to stop worsening my situation by making vile rumors against North Korea and releasing materials related to me, which are not based on the facts," he said before video cameras in Pyongyang.
"I want to be pardoned by the North as soon as possible and return to my beloved family," Bae told journalists from several news organizations. "For that, I ask the U.S. government, press and my family to make more active efforts and pay more attention."
Bae's family did just that. His sister Terri Chung released a statement that later Monday, at one point, addresses North Korean leaders.
"We understand that Kenneth has been convicted of crimes under (North Korean) laws. Our family sincerely apologizes on Kenneth's behalf. Kenneth has also acknowledged his crimes and has apologized. He has now served 15 months of his sentence, but faces chronic health problems. We humbly ask for your mercy to release my brother."
Chung said the video showed that her brother was worn down.
"In his eyes, I could see that he was distressed," she said.
Any statement made by Bae in captivity would be sanctioned by the North Korean government, whose widespread human rights abuses are known to the world.
The country has a long history of exacting false "confessions."
In December, 85-year-old Merrill Newman, a veteran of the Korean War, was freed from captivity in North Korea after being forced to give a false confession, he said afterward.
"Anyone who has read the text of it or who has seen the video of me reading it knows that the words were not mine and were not delivered voluntarily. Anyone who knows me knows that I could not have done the things they had me 'confess' to," he wrote.
Bae, of Lynwood, Washington, was arrested in November 2012 in Rason along North Korea's northeastern coast. The devout Christian and father of three operated a China-based company specializing in tours of North Korea, according to his family and freekennow.com, a website friends set up to promote his release.
"Several years ago, Kenneth saw an opportunity that combined his entrepreneurial spirit with his personal convictions as a Christian," the site said. "He believed in showing compassion to the North Korean people by contributing to their economy in the form of tourism."
The North Korean government accused Bae of planning to bring down the government through religious activities.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
31 people are in trouble with the law after a three day prostitution sting in Richmond. Police told NBC12 they targeted specific areas where residents and business owners complained about the illegal activity.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 1:09 PM EDT2014-04-17 17:09:44 GMT
Donna McLendon took 20 pills in an attempt to end her life. She said she could no longer deal with the pain and rage of being sexually molested beginning at age 9. After Donna swallowed her pills she becameMore >>
It all came to a head for Donna McLendon, in mid-February, after an all-consuming rage took over after years of childhood trauma that started when Donna was just 9-years-old.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:18 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:18:08 GMT
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Police say a man upset about the end of his relationship chased his ex-girlfriend's car and threw a wrench through a window. An arrest warrant says on April 9 Sebastian Lee James,More >>
According to an arrest warrant, Sebastian Lee James, Sr. was upset about the end of the relationship.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 2:00 PM EDT2014-04-17 18:00:21 GMT
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Louisville Metro police arrested a woman on domestic violence charges after the victim said she used a hammer and a shovel to hit him. Officers were called to the 3300 block ofMore >>
Louisville Metro police said the man may have a broken arm.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 11:42 AM EDT2014-04-17 15:42:53 GMT
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A Louisville woman is facing a number of charges after she broke into an apartment and cut a person while looking for alcohol. Louisville Metro police arrested Crystal R. Noble,More >>
According to LMPD, alcohol was the reason Crystal Noble got into an altercation with another person that left to the cutting. More >>
725 S. Floyd Street
Louisville, KY 40203