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Student to be executed by firing squad for smuggling Squid Game into North Korea

In Summary

  • The man is said to have brought a copy of Squid Game into North Korea back from China and sold USB flash drives containing the series.

A North Korean student who smuggled in copies of the hit Netflix series – Squid Game – has been sentenced to death after authorities caught seven high school students watching the show.

The student is said to have smuggled a copy of Squid Game – a banned series – into Communist North Korea. He reportedly stashed the series in a USB flash drive.

It is understood he will now be executed by firing squad – one of the grim methods by which characters in the series are also killed.

One student who bought a drive received a life sentence, while six others who watched the show have been sentenced to five years of hard labour. Teachers and school administrators have also been fired and face banishment to work in remote mines.

“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,” a source in law enforcement in North Hamgyong province told RFA’s Korean Service Monday.

“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.

Squid Game
A scene from Squid Game.

Known officially as Surveillance Bureau Group 109, 109 Sangmu refers to the government strike force that specializes in catching illegal video watchers.

North Korea has a strict ban on material from the West and South Korea being allowed into the country and officials are now carrying out searches at the students’ school to find anymore foreign media.

The arrest of the seven students marks the first time that the government is applying the newly passed law on the “Elimination of Reactionary Thought and Culture,” in a case involving minors.

The law, promulgated last year, carries a maximum penalty of death for watching, keeping, or distributing media from capitalist countries, particularly from South Korea and the U.S.

According to sources, rumors are circulating that among the seven arrested students, one with rich parents was able to avoid punishment because they bribed the authorities.

Squid Game is Netflix’s most watched show

Squid Game is Netflix’s most-watched show ever, ranked first in 94 countries and viewed in 142 million homes worldwide after only a month, according to the company’s third-quarter earnings report.

Squid Game is Netflix’s most watched show ever.

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