North Korea sentences man to death, student to life for smuggling, watching ‘Squid Game’

Published November 25, 2021, 10:20 AM

by Jonathan Hicap

North Korea, Kim Jong-un’s hermit kingdom, sentenced a man to death after he was caught smuggling and selling copies of Netflix’s hit South Korean series “Squid Game.”

The man was arrested by North Korean authorities after seven high school students were caught watching “Squid Game,” Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on Nov. 23, citing sources in North Korea.

“Squid Game” (Netflix)

According to the report, the man smuggled copies of “Squid Game” to North Korea from China. He sold copies of the series on USB flash drives.

The man would be killed by firing squad by North Korean authorities, the report added.

In addition, the seven high school students who watched “Squid Game” were sentenced by the North Korean government. A student who bought the USB flash drive was given life imprisonment while the other six were sentenced to five years of hard labor. Teachers and school administrators were fired and they would be banished to work in mines.

According to the report, copies of “Squid Game” were smuggled to North Korea and were distributed through USB flash drives and SD cards.

“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 in North Korea told RFA.

The source added, “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.” 109 Sangmu is a government unit going after illegal videos.

“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,” according to the source.

The source added that the North Korean 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.”

South Koreans reacted to the news about North Korea punishing its own people for watching “Squid Game.”

“That dog Kim Jong Un probably watched ‘Squid Game’ the first out of all of them, what a hypocrite,” one South Korean commented on Instagram, according to Netizen Buzz.

Other comments are:

– “Probably sucks more to be living in North Korea than to play in the ‘Squid Game’”

– “Just feeling blessed that I was born in South Korea”

– ”They’re basically playing the ‘Squid Game’ to get to watch the ‘Squid Game’”

– “Probably scarier to be living in North Korea than play in the game”

– “A real life ‘Squid Game’”

– “Didn’t one of them get five years for watching ‘Crash Landing on You’… I’d probably get life imprisonment”

“Squid Game” is Netflix’s biggest show of all time, which was viewed 1.65 billion hours in its first 28 days on the OTT platform.

It tells the story of 456 cash-strapped people playing deadly games for a 45.6 billion won ($38 million) prize. It stars Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Jung Ho-yeon, Wi Ha-joon, O Yeong-su, Heo Sung-tae, Anupam Tripathi and Kim Joo-ryoung.

“Squid Game” director Hwang Dong-hyuk confirmed that there will be season 2 of the drama although a Netflix spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter, “A second season is in discussions, but not confirmed yet.”