A humanitarian worker from Edmonton has been held by North Korean authorities for more than two months, the president of the city's Korean community said Wednesday.

Je Yell Kim was taken into custody Nov. 3 in a remote northeast corner of North Korea, said Chung Cho, who has known Kim for more than 20 years.

Kim, a dental technician in his 50s, has been travelling to the region for almost a decade, Cho said, using some of his own money and raising more from the Korean community.

His work has resulted in close to $2 million worth of projects, including three hospitals, two kindergartens and a daycare, he added.

Reports suggest Kim is accused of breaching North Korea's national security. The department of foreign affairs did not return calls from the CBC Wednesday.

The Federation of Korean Canadian Associations has begun collecting names on a petition urging the federal government to "aggressively" pursue Kim's release.