North Korea sentences ‘Squid Game’ Smuggler to Death

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North Korea has been reported to have sentenced a man who smuggled and sold the Netflix hit dystopian drama, Squid Games, to death by firing squad.

Also, a high school student who bought a USB drive containing the show was sentenced to life in prison.

Another six high school students who watched the show were said to be sentenced to five years of hard labor.

Their supervisors were also said to be punished, with teachers and school administrators fired, possibly to be banished to work in remote mines.

The South Korean television series “Squid Game” tells the story of 456 debt-laden people competing for 45.6 billion won, or $38.3 million, of prize money in brutal survival games.

A law-enforcement source in North Korea’s North Hamgyong province told RFA’s Korean service: “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.” The students were caught by government censors after a tip-off, according to local reports.

It’s the first time the North Korean government has punished minors under a law that penalizes the distribution, watching, or keeping of media from capitalist countries like South Korea and the US.

Last month, a state-run North Korean propaganda website said the Netflix drama highlighted how South Korea was a place where “corruption and immoral scoundrels are commonplace.” One of the show’s characters was a North Korean defector whose story highlighted her arduous escape from the country. ape 

Despite the threat of retribution, smuggled, illegal copies of “Squid Game” have been making their way into North Korea.

A report noted that North Koreans found the financial struggles of the show’s characters “relatable.”

Netflix has said the massive hit had the highest first-month viewership of any of its originals.


Radio Free Asia/YahooNews/Hauwa Abu

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