A contrabandist who sold copies of Netflix’s smash hit series “Squid Game” in North Korea has been convicted to death by firing squad, as stated by a report.
The man reportedly smuggled copies of the Korean-language show on USB drives from China into North Korea, where seven high school students were caught watching the footage, sources disclosed to Radio Free Asia.
A student who bought one of the flash drives got a life sentence, at the same time six others who watched the footage have been sentenced to five years of hard labor. Teachers and administrators at the school were as well sacked or face forced labor in remote mines, sources told the outlet.
Radio Free Asia last week reported that the hit series had made its way in the solitary hermit kingdom in spite of attempts by North Korean authorities to keep it out of the country, where foreign media is legally prohibited.
The dystopian, graphic and violent show approximately 456 debt-ridden South Koreans playing a series of life-or-death children’s games for a chance to win $38 million resonates with North Koreans, mainly the rich inhabitants of Pyongyang, sources disclosed to RFA.
“Squid Game has been able to enter the country on memory storage devices like USB flash drives and SD cards, that are smuggled in by ship, subsequently make their way inland,”
an inhabitant of Pyongsong told RFA.
“They say that the content is similar to the lives of Pyongyang officials who fight in the foreign currency market as if it is a fight for life and death.”
The plot of the show “parallels” the reality for some in North Korea, where those who earn too much money “could be executed” very soon, the source said.
“It not only resonates with the rich people, but also with Pyongyang’s youth because they are drawn to the unusually violent scenes,”
the man further said.
“They secretly watch the show under their blankets at night on their portable media players.”
A law implementation source in North Hamgyong province — which shares a border with China — disclosed to RFA Monday a high school student watched “Squid Game” in a classroom with one of his friends.
“The friend told several other students, who became interested, and they shared the flash drive with them,”
the source said.
“They were caught by the censors in 109 Sangmu, who had received a tip-off.”
The government’s strike force against outside media – Surveillance Bureau Group 109 – at that time apprehended the seven students in what’s believed to be the first time North Korea is implementing the new law in a case including minors, RFA reported.
Authorities afterwards began scouring nearby markets for other memory storage devices and foreign media after the students were caught, one North Hamgyong source said.
“The residents are all trembling in fear because they will be mercilessly punished for buying or selling memory storage devices, no matter how small,”
a second source disclosed to RFA.
“But regardless of how strict the government’s crackdown seems to be, rumors are circulating that among the seven arrested students, one with rich parents was able to avoid punishment because they bribed the authorities with $3,000.”
North Korea passed a law last year on the
“Elimination of Reactionary Thought and Culture,”
which carries an upper limit allowed punishment of death for watching, possession or distribution of media from capitalist countries like South Korea and the US, RFA reported.
“Law enforcement is not playing around with the new law, and they are fiercely trying to root out every instance of capitalist culture,”
a second source told RFA.
“But times are tough due to the pandemic, so even the police are struggling to make ends meet. Putting a few bucks in their pocket will make them go away if you get caught watching South Korean media.”
A communication seeking from Netflix by The Post was not at once returned Wednesday.