North Korean man who smuggled Squid Game into the country to be executed and high school students sentenced
Sylvie Claire / December 1, 2021
North Korea is coming down hard on those who distribute and watch the hit Netflix series Squid Game. The reclusive country sentenced a man who smuggled and sold the series to death by firing squad. And a high school student who bought a flash drive containing the series was sentenced to life in prison, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA), citing sources in the country.
Six other high school students who watch the series were also sentenced to five years of hard labor, RFA reports. Their supervisors were also punished, and the school's teachers and administrators were fired. They could be banished to work in mines far from their residential link, the media outlet added.
It all started last week when a high school student secretly bought a flash drive containing the South Korean series Squid Game and watched it with one of his best friends in class, a law enforcement source in North Hamgyong Province told RFA's Korean service. The friend told several other students about it, who were interested, and he shared the flash drive with them.
The high school students were caught by government censors through a tip, the source told RFA. This is the first time the North Korean government has punished minors under a law that penalizes the distribution, viewing or keeping of media from capitalist countries like South Korea and the United States, RFA added. The government is taking this incident very seriously, claiming that the education of students has been neglected, the RFA source said.
One of the students got away with it thanks to his wealthy parents who paid a bribe of $3,000, according to the media outlet.
Last month, a state-run North Korean propaganda site said the Netflix series highlights the fact that South Korea is a country where corruption and immoral scoundrels are commonplace. Among the characters in the series is a North Korean defector whose story highlights her troubled escape from North Korea.
Despite threats of retaliation, illegal copies of Squid Game have been smuggled into North Korea. An earlier article by Radio Free Asia reported that North Koreans found the financial difficulties of the show's characters relatable.
Squid Game is the most watched series of all time on Netflix.