Man Sentenced to Death for Smuggling “Squid Game” Into North Korea

Man Sentenced to Death for Smuggling 'Squid Game' into North Korea

( – When one lives in a country that allows its citizens the freedom to watch any entertainment or read any book they please, it’s hard to imagine anything else. North Korea is vastly different from the United States, as its closed totalitarian regime has strict rules governing its people and their choices. Rules which will cost one man his life.

In November, authorities in the communist state caught seven high school students watching the Netflix series “Squid Game.” The government sentenced the man who smuggled the media from China into North Korea to death by firing squad.

The others face punishments as well, including life in prison, hard labor, banishment from the party, and exile to rural North Korea. However, rumors swirl about some of the guilty but wealthy kids escaping punishment by bribing authorities.

Squid Game Crackdown

One of the students bought and distributed a copy of the popular Netflix series on a USB flash drive from China to watch with one of his friends during class. The popular South Korean show is about a dystopian future where contestants in severe debt compete with one another, playing kid’s games like Red Light and Green Light for a big cash prize. The catch to the games is if players lose, they die. It also sympathetically portrays an female contestant in the game as a North Korean national that escaped to South Korea.

Unfortunately for the smuggler, students and others blamed in the sting operation, the North Korean government has a strict Elimination of Reactionary Thought and Culture law, which carries a penalty of death for any citizen who watches, keeps or distributes media from the US or South Korea.

An unknown tipster told officials with the Surveillance Bureau Group 109 about the media’s existence, and they caught the perpetrators. The North Korean government aims to track down every leg of the smuggling operation until it reaches the source, punishing each offender in accordance with the country’s laws. A source revealed the government is taking the incident seriously by penalizing not just the smuggler and the students, but also the teachers and principal.

In the Absence of Freedom

Since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un rose to power in 2011, most citizens surveyed believe the regime is more strict about foreign media entering the country and the resulting punishments being more dangerous. Some think it’s because the government believes much foreign media encourages people to escape their conditions, and Kim apparently wants to keep control of his residents.

It’s hard for Americans to imagine living in a restrictive place where just watching certain media can lead to punishment by death. Perhaps looking at the possible results of a totalitarian system could give those in Democratic nations a renewed will to preserve their freedoms.

Copyright 2021,