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Man Sentenced to Death for Smuggling Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’ into North Korea

Corea del Norte: hombre condenado a muerte por comerciar serie "Squid Game"

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The North Korean regime, led by Kim Jong-un, has sentenced to death a dealer who was distributing the “Squid Game” series inside the secretive Asian country. The information was revealed by Radio Free Asia (RFA), a private media outlet funded by the U.S. government that interviewed two anonymous sources in North Korea, including a man operating in law enforcement in North Hamgyong Province.

According to the RFA report, the man was smuggling copies of the Netflix series from China and selling them via USB sticks clandestinely. He was caught after authorities caught seven high school students watching the popular Korean-language series.

The punishment against the man will be enforced by firing squad. The students will also be punished. One of them, the boy who bought the series and showed it to his classmates, will receive life imprisonment. The other six will receive six years of hard labor.

These punishments will be applied within the framework of the law “Elimination of Reactionary Thought and Culture,” enacted last year and which will affect, in this case, minors. This is the first time that the government has applied this measure to punish violators of North Korea’s authoritarian law.

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According to the RFA, the law “carries a maximum penalty of death for watching, keeping, or distributing media from capitalist countries, particularly from South Korea and the U.S.”

It is rumored that one of the students will be released thanks to a $3,000 bribe given by his parents to the North Korean authorities.

RFA, last November 16, reported that copies of Squid Game were entering North Korea and were achieving some popularity among some North Koreans “with risky occupations and insecure positions” who identified with the financial situation of the characters in the series.

"The Squid Game", la serie surcoreana de Netflix más vista en el mundo
An image from the Squid Game series. (Archive)

Punishments for smuggling Squid Game into North Korea will reach people not directly involved

RFA’s North Korean sources claimed that there is a climate of concern inside North Korea over the Squid Game-related punishments. “Residents are engulfed by anxiety, as the seven will be mercilessly interrogated until the authorities can find out how the drama was smuggled in with the border closed due to the coronavirus pandemic,” the source told the media outlet.

Punishments for smuggling Squid Game will not be limited, solely, to punishing and executing those who distribute and view the content; but also punishing school officials who allow these kinds of capitalist productions to roll among students.

“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,” the FRG source said of the arrests against the students.

“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,” the media source added.

Likewise, another resident of North Hamgyong Province commented that after the students were arrested, “authorities began scouring markets for memory storage devices and video CDs containing foreign.”

Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.

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