After North Korea’s statement came out, authorities began putting pressure on VOMK to stop their balloon launches. On June 12, Gyeonggi province Gov. Lee Jae-myung criminalized balloon launching so that anyone caught doing such a launch could be fined or arrested.
That same month, the governor also called for investigations into the four balloon launching groups and levied various accusations against VOMK. Foley told MNN, “According to the governor, we’re guilty of fraud, mismanagement of donations, security risk, [and] possible air traffic violations. The amazing thing about it is we’ve been doing these launches for 15 years and none of these things [were] problems or issues before.”
VOMK published a response to the governor, defending its financial credibility, and saying, “We were stunned and, frankly, extremely puzzled by Governor Lee’s statement today.”
“Voice of the Martyrs Korea has only ever launched the Bible by balloon,” said the statement. “We have never printed or distributed political flyers at any time. In fact, we launch the Bible translation published by the North Korean government itself, which the North Korean government repeatedly affirms in its public statements is completely legal in North Korea and is in accord with the freedom of religion granted all citizens in the North Korean constitution.”
Eric Foley and his team have not yet been arrested, and they conducted at least one more balloon launch over the summer, although it is unclear exactly how much the increased scrutiny inhibited the rest of their launches. WORLD magazine reported that at one point authorities blocked Foley’s car from going to balloon launch sites. However, in an interview with MNN in August, Foley said that while he could not comment on individual balloon launches, VOMK is “fully operational.” He also noted that the balloon launches comprise only about 10 percent of all of VOMK’s work.
Foley said he is not worried about getting arrested and that VOMK has no plans to stop the balloon launches. “We’ve had 36 martyrs from Voice of the Martyrs Korea since we began,” he said, “and my wife and I never felt like we could exempt ourselves from that.” God is working in this situation, and Foley asked that people would pray that God would glorify himself and use the Bibles that VOMK has sent. “God is finding ways to get Bibles into North Korea,” he said. “We’re amazed at the avenues He’s opening. Please pray that continues. Pray that God is glorified.”