Squid Game smuggling North Korean man sentenced to death by firing squad

The student is said to have smuggled the successful Netflix series on a hidden USB stick from China

The man, a student, is said to have brought the series with him from China on a hidden USB stick (

Image: Press Association Images)

A North Korean was sentenced to death by firing squad after smuggling a digital copy of the hit Netflix series Squid Game.

The man, a student, is said to have brought the series with him from China on a hidden USB stick.

He was reportedly caught by North Korean authorities after receiving a tip from an unidentified source that he was selling copies to several people, including fellow students.

He has since been sentenced to death by firing squad. Radio Free Asia reported.

Another student who bought a drive was reportedly sentenced to life imprisonment, while six others who watched the show were sentenced to five years of forced labor.

South Korean soldier guards the DMZ
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Teachers and school administrators have also been fired, risking working in coal mines or exiled to rural parts of the country, sources told RFA.

The arrests are believed to have taken place in the country’s North Hamgyong Province last week.

The recent arrests of the seven students mark the first time the North Korean government has implemented the “Eliminate Reactionary Thought and Culture” law in a case involving minors, according to a law enforcement source in North Hamgyong Province.

The North Korean authorities reportedly caught him selling copies to several people
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Under the recently passed law, anyone who observes, stores, or distributes media from capitalist countries, particularly South Korea and the United States, can be sentenced to death.

“Residents are overwhelmed with fear as the seven are mercilessly interrogated until authorities can find out how the drama was smuggled in with the border closed due to the coronavirus pandemic,” the source told RFA.

Last week it was reported that copies of Squid Game were being spread across North Korea after being smuggled across the border on memory sticks and other electrical devices.

Copies of Squid Game are reportedly being spread across North Korea after being smuggled across the border on memory sticks and other electrical devices.
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Getty Images)

“Squid Game was able to enter the country on storage media such as USB sticks and SD cards that were smuggled in by ship and then get inland,” a resident of the city of Pyongsong told RFA.

The local resident believed that the show is particularly relevant to civil servants who do their jobs for money but are also at risk of death.

“They think the show’s storyline somehow aligns with their own reality, where they know they could be executed anytime the government chooses to make an example of them because they make too much money but they all make keep as much money as possible, ”the source said.

“This resonates not only with the rich, but also with the youth of Pyongyang, because they are drawn to the unusually violent scenes. In addition, one of the characters is a North Korean refugee and you can identify with her. “

North Korea’s state media have criticized Squid Game, saying it is an example of the “bestial” nature of “South Korean capitalist society where humanity is being annihilated by extreme competition”.
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People in North Korea secretly watch the show under blankets at night and use portable media players, the source added.

Smugglers have seen and relied on the popularity of Squid Games, which also risked their lives to bring the series to North Korea, a second RFA source said.

The secret state strictly censors its media with Western series and films that were banned under leader Kim Jong-un.

Rules are strictly enforced in an oppressed society and people who violate them could face the death penalty.

In October, North Korean state media criticized Squid Game, saying it was an example of the “bestial” nature of “South Korean capitalist society where humanity is being annihilated by extreme competition.”

Security at the border with China has become stricter since the Covid outbreak and has usually not been that difficult to cross. Now there is a kilometer-long “kill zone” at the border as well as miles of land that smugglers have to overcome.

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