A group of Chinese Christian missionaries are preparing to travel to North Korea - under the guidance of a man who claims to be a former member of the mafia.
The missionaries, all of whom are single, are reportedly undergoing intensive training from two experienced pastors before embarking on their mission.
In an interview with China Aid, which is organising the mission, the two pastors said "we have no fears" ahead of the mission - even though previous reports have suggested missionaries who travelled to North Korea were killed, tortured or sent to concentration camps death, torture and concentration camps.
One of the pastors claimed he converted to Christianity after a life of crime, saying "I used to be in the mafia. I was the advisor to a big boss in the mafia. Among the gangsters, and I was the second most powerful man; so, I visited the police station very often. It was like going back to my own home.
"In the year 1999, I was planning to rob a van that transported money from the bank. Back then, I did every bad thing that you can imagine except murder. I planned to rob the money transporting van for about a year. In the beginning of the year 2000, someone shared the Gospel with my mom. At that time, I was really against it, but the person who shared the Gospel with me was an elderly colleague of mine.
"After I converted, everything changed in my life. Automatically, I dropped the plan to rob the van. Since then, I have been serving in the church."
The missionaries aim to set off for North Korea next month.