“Squid Game”: North Korean Man Sentenced To Death For Smuggling, Distributing Hit TV Show
A North Korean man has been sentenced to death by firing squad for smuggling into the country and distributing illegal copies of the hit Netflix drama series “Squid Game.” According to Radio Free Asia, the man was handed a severe sentence after high school students were caught watching the monster hit South Korean television show.
The report states that “Squid Game” was smuggled into the country from China through a USB flash drive. The smuggler is said to have sold USB flash drives containing the series.
The high school students who bought and watched the series also landed themselves in hot water with the authorities. The student who bought the “Squid Game” USB flash drive was handed a life sentence, while six others who watched the show with him were sentenced to five years hard labour.
The teachers and authorities at the high school in question were not spared either in the crackdown. Some have been fired and face being banished to work in remote areas or coal mines. A source who spoke to RFA told the publication,
“The government is taking this incident very seriously, saying that the students’ education was being neglected. The Central Committee dismissed the school principal, their youth secretary, and their homeroom teacher.
“They were also expelled from the party. It is certain that they will be sent to toil in coal mines or exiled to rural parts of the country, so other school teachers are all worrying that it could happen to them too if one of their students is also caught up in the investigation.”
Another source in law enforcement in North Hamgyong province told RFA’s Korean Service Monday how the seven high school students and the distributor had been arrested.
“This all started last week when a high school student secretly bought a USB flash drive containing the South Korean drama Squid Game and watched it with one of his best friends in class.”
“The friend told several other students, who became interested, and they shared the flash drive with them. They were caught by the censors in 109 Sangmu, who had received a tipoff,” said the source, referring to the government strike force that specializes in catching illegal video watchers, known officially as Surveillance Bureau Group 109.
“Squid Game” is a South Korean survival thriller that follows a group of contestants who agree to participate in a mysterious survival game with a grand prize total of nearly $40 million. The show’s first season was released in September, and it became a word-of-mouth sensation.
“Squid Game” amassed 1.6 billion hours viewed in its first 28 days of release, making it the biggest Netflix original TV series in history and the single biggest piece of original Netflix content.
The seven students and the “Squid Game” smuggler were arrested for violating North Korea’s recently passed law, the “Elimination of Reactionary Thought and Culture.”
The law, which was passed in December 2020, prohibits the entry and dissemination of cultural material like films, plays, music and books in the country.
The act is mainly aimed at preventing the spread of media from South Korea, and the U.S. and those found distributing or consuming these are liable to be punished and face a maximum penalty of death.
The RFA report suggests that there is great public anxiety over the fate of the high school students and that more people could be implicated in the investigation.
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