CANBERRA, Australia — Australian student and tour operator Alek Sigley, who was last week deported from North Korea after being detained for several days, has denied being a spy.

North Korea had accused the 29-year old from Perth of espionage and “anti-state” activities, alleging that Sigley was “caught red-handed” and had “honestly admitted to his spying actions.”

The regime said Sigley was deported after he pleaded for forgiveness.

“The allegation that I am a spy is (pretty obviously) false,” Sigley tweeted late Tuesday.

Sigley was released Thursday with the help of Swedish diplomats and is now in Tokyo reunited with his Japanese wife. He said Tuesday he was “well both mentally and physically.”

North Korea had accused Sigley of spreading anti-Pyongyang propaganda and engaging in spying by providing photos and other materials to news organizations that were critical of the country.

Sigley said the only material he gave to news outlets “was what was published publicly.”

Sigley, who speaks fluent Korean, ran specialized guided educational tours to North Korea, which he said have now been canceled. He said he was “still very interested in North Korea” and wanted to continue his academic work there.

“But I currently have no plans to visit the country again, at least in the short term,” Sigley said.

Sigley also said he will be unable to receive his master’s degree in Korean literature, which he began in 2018, from Kil Il Sung University in Pyongyang, despite “completing more than half the course and achieving good results.”

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©2019 Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH (Hamburg, Germany)

Visit Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH (Hamburg, Germany) at www.dpa.de/English.82.0.html

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PHOTO (for help with images, contact 312-222-4194): NKOREA-AUSTRALIAN

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