Toy squid smuggler dies in North Korea

A smuggler who sold copies of “Squid Game” on Netflix in North Korea has been sentenced to death by firing squad, according to a report.

The man allegedly smuggled copies of a Korean-language program on USB sticks from China to North Korea, where seven high school students were arrested watching the footage, Sources told Radio Free Asia.

A student who bought one of the flash drives was sentenced to life in prison, while six others who viewed the footage were sentenced to five years in prison with hard labour. The sources told the outlet that teachers and administrators in the school were expelled or faced forced labor in remote mines.

Radio Free Asia I mentioned last week The hit series has made its way into the reclusive kingdom despite efforts by North Korean authorities to keep it out of the country, where foreign media is banned.

The dystopian, graphic and violent show about 456 indebted South Koreans playing a series of life-or-death games for a chance to win $38 million has resonated with North Koreans, especially wealthy Pyongyang residents, sources told Radio Free Asia.

squid game
The student who bought one of the flash drives was sentenced to life imprisonment.
© Netflix / Entertainment Pictures /

“Squid Game managed to enter the country on memory storage devices such as USB flash drives and SD cards, which are smuggled by ship, and then make its way in,” a Pyeongseong resident told RFA. “They say the content is similar to the life of Pyongyang officials fighting in the forex market as if it was a life and death battle.”

The source said the plot of the series “parallels” reality for some in North Korea, where those who earn a lot of money can be executed at any time.

“It resonates not only with the rich but also with the young people of Pyongyang because they are drawn to unusually violent scenes,” the man continued. “They secretly watch the show under their blankets at night on their portable media players.”

A law enforcement source in North Hamgyong Province – which shares a border with China – told Radio Free Asia on Monday that a high school student watched a “squid game” in a classroom with a friend.

squid game
The plot of the series “parallels” reality for some in North Korea.
Pictures provided by Netflix

“The friend told several other students, who became interested, and shared a flash drive with them,” the source said. “They were arrested by the sergeants of 109 Sangmu, who received a tip-off.”

Radio Free Asia reports that a government strike force against foreign media – Surveillance Bureau Group 109 – has arrested the seven students in what is believed to be the first time North Korea has implemented the new law in a case involving minors.

A source in North Hamgyeong said that authorities then began searching for other memory sticks and foreign media in nearby markets after the students were arrested.

“All residents are trembling in fear because they will be ruthlessly punished for buying or selling memory storage devices, no matter how small,” a second source told Radio Free Asia. “But no matter how strict the government’s crackdown is, rumors circulate that among the seven arrested students, a wealthy parent managed to avoid punishment because they bribed the authorities with $3,000.”

squid game
Authorities began searching for memory storage devices and other foreign media in nearby markets.
Pictures provided by Netflix

North Korea last year passed a law on “eliminating reactionary thought and culture,” which imposes a maximum death penalty for viewing, possessing or distributing media from capitalist countries such as South Korea and the United States, Radio Free Asia reported.

“Law enforcement is not manipulating the new law, and they are trying ferociously to root out every instance of capitalist culture,” a second source told RFA. But times are tough because of the pandemic, so even the police are struggling to make ends meet. Putting a few dollars in their pockets will make them go away if you get caught watching South Korean media.”

A message seeking from Netflix was not immediately returned by The Post on Wednesday.


Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *