Families of journalists wait for better news

June 8, 2009 11:39:35 AM PDT
The father of one of the American journalists convicted in North Korea over the weekend said Monday the family will refrain from public comment as the case plays out.

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Doug Ling spoke briefly to The Associated Press at his home in the Sacramento suburb of Carmichael.

"We're going to keep a low-profile until we hear something better about the situation," he said.

His daughter, Laura Ling, and Euna Lee were sentenced to 12 years in a labor camp by North Korea's highest court for entering the country's territory.

They were working for San Francisco-based Current TV when North Korean guards seized them March 17 near the country's border with China.

A woman who has lived next door to the Ling family for three decades said Doug Ling returned Saturday from New York, where she thought he may have been conducting media interviews.

"He was very tired, but he's trying to keep positive about the whole thing," said Pat Hozack, 74.

She said Doug Ling's ex-wife lives in Los Angeles. It was not immediately clear whether anyone else was staying at his two-story home, which sits across the street from a private swim and tennis club.

Asked how Doug Ling is holding up, Hozack said he was "very concerned."

"He tries to, like men do, joke it off: 'When she gets back, I'm going to give her a good, swift kick.' Things like that," she said. "But you know he was concerned."

Euna Lee, 36, lives in California with her husband and 4-year-old daughter, Hannah.

A New York-based spokeswoman for the Ling and Lee families, Alanna Zahn, said Monday they would have no comment.

Supporters held vigils last week in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Washington, D.C., and other cities urging the North Korean government to release the journalists.

"The only thing I can say is that we still remain hopeful that Laura and Eunie will return home safely," said Beth Diebels, 35, a former classmate of Ling's at Del Campo High School who organized last week's march in the state capital.

Laura Ling, 32, is the younger sister of Lisa Ling, a reporter for National Geographic "Explorer" TV.

A receptionist at Current TV in downtown San Francisco told reporters who had gathered outside the office Monday that the company would have no statement.

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