(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.
Saturday, April 19 2014 6:55 PM EDT2014-04-19 22:55:56 GMT
A shooting at a Kansas City gas station has left a man dead and a 10-year-old boy hospitalized . Police responded to a shooting call on 4501 Cleveland Ave. at 10:00 on Friday. When they arrived, theyMore >
A shooting at a Kansas City gas station has left a father dead and his 10-year-old boy hospitalized. More >
Thursday, April 17 2014 4:36 PM EDT2014-04-17 20:36:42 GMT
It is a story about tragedy, luck, perseverance and incredible good will. While on a dream vacation in Italy, Sam Porritt snapped a picture of a gorgeous sunrise in Tuscany. He stepped up on a ledge toMore >
A dream vacation in an instant turned into a horrible nightmare.More >
Saturday, April 19 2014 4:01 PM EDT2014-04-19 20:01:03 GMT
The person prosecutors believe was the highway shooter's first victim, long before bullets started flying on the highways, spoke Friday. Mohammed Whitaker, 27, is charged in the shootings and court documentsMore >
The person prosecutors believe was the highway shooter's first victim, long before bullets started flying on the highways, spoke Friday.More >
Friday, April 18 2014 9:53 PM EDT2014-04-19 01:53:24 GMT
The police department's statements detail their use of GPS tracking, surveillance and the help of tips from the public that led to the eventual arrest of Mohammed Whitaker, the man suspected of being theMore >
Court documents detail how new-age technology, old-fashioned police work and observant eyewitnesses led to the capture of the man that authorities say was responsible for a string of highway shootings that terrorized the area.More >
Friday, April 18 2014 11:22 AM EDT2014-04-18 15:22:08 GMT
Ashton Kutcher, one of the world's top TV stars, stopped to ponder Georgia's official Peanut Statue in Ashburn. His selfie, showing himself and his fiancé, Mila Kunis, appreciating the structure, hasMore >
Ashton Kutcher, one of the world's top TV stars, stopped to ponder Georgia's official Peanut Statue in Ashburn. His selfie, showing himself and his fiancé, Mila Kunis, appreciating the structure, has circled the globe.More >
Friday, April 18 2014 10:35 AM EDT2014-04-18 14:35:55 GMT
Connecticut lawmakers have proposed new bill that would ban whole milk from day care centers. The plan is being considered to improve nutrition standards among children and reduce obesity.The AmericanMore >
Connecticut lawmakers have proposed new bill that would ban whole milk from daycare centers. The plan is being considered to improve nutrition standards among children and reduce obesity.More >
Saturday, April 19 2014 1:54 PM EDT2014-04-19 17:54:30 GMT
Police said a woman was taken into custody following a brief chase Saturday. The chase started on East 39th Street and Arrowhead Avenue in Independence, MO, about 11:27 a.m.It lasted about 11 minutes andMore >
Police said a woman was taken into custody following a brief chase Saturday.More >
Friday, April 18 2014 8:31 AM EDT2014-04-18 12:31:56 GMT
(WMC-TV) - Most 7-year-old girls are playing dress up and reading books, but one Mid-South girl is the exception—not just reading but writing books. Shiloh Sanders talked about the inspiration behind herMore >
Most 7-year-old girls are playing dress up and reading books, but one Mid-South girl is the exception—not just reading but writing books.More >
Friday, April 18 2014 9:29 PM EDT2014-04-19 01:29:55 GMT
(Courtesy: Kansas City Star)
Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte says they have the highway shooter suspect in custody. Police announced last week that they have positively linked 12 shooting incidents that have taken place onMore >
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced Friday that she has filed 18 felony charges against a 27-year-old man in connection with a recent spree of shootings on area highways.More >
Friday, April 18 2014 9:07 PM EDT2014-04-19 01:07:55 GMT
An ailing Miley Cyrus has canceled her concert Tuesday night at Sprint Center.The notice came a matter of hours before she was scheduled to go on stage.A concert promoter tells KCTV5 that Cyrus is in theMore >
An ailing Miley Cyrus is no longer in a Kansas City hospital, but posted on her Twitter page Friday morning that she is "sick of waking up to needles." She has postponed the rest of her Bangerz concert tour. More >