North Korea Student Who Bought ‘Squid Game’ Copy Gets Life Sentence

North Korean Student Who Bought Smuggled ‘Squid Game’ Receives Life Sentence

So many people were affected.

Squid Game just got real in North Korea as someone who smuggled the world-popular K-drama into the country was sentenced to death. Authorities reportedly caught high school students watching the show and tracked down the person who sold the pirated copies. 

According to RFA, a USA-headquartered news agency, the K-drama was smuggled in from China via USB flash drives. The smuggler now faces death by a firing squad. The irony of this situation is chilling. 

To make things worse, the student who bought the flash drive received a life sentence; five more North Koreans who watched Squid Game got five years of hard labour, while teachers and administrators have been fired and banished to work in remote mines.

Why Squid Game is banned in North Korea

Image credit: Thomas Evans

K-dramas and other commodities of South Korean pop culture are strictly banned in North Korea based on its Elimination of Reactionary Thought and Culture act. This forbids the entry of foreign movies, music, plays, and books into North Korea. This act is mainly aimed at South Korean and American media. 

In fact, North Koreans aren’t even allowed to use South Korean slang or wear skinny jeans for fear of capitalist influence. As you can imagine, a show like Squid Game would easily ring alarm bells for North Korea authorities due to the K-drama’s thought-provoking messages.

Because of these unfortunate incidents, North Korea is now using Squid Game as an opportunity to paint South Korea as a terrifying society. The North Korean propaganda site called Arirang Meari reportedly told its readers that Squid Game is the “sad reality of a beastly South Korean society.”

RFA has also reported that North Korea’s condemnation of the affected high school students has given the public much anxiety. It doesn’t help that North Korean authorities are still hounding more people implicated in the investigation. Only time will tell if or when North Korea will finally loosen its laws about the imports of foreign media into the country. For now, we just hope that no one else gets embroiled in this disheartening circumstance.

Featured image credit: Random Institute | Unsplash

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Therese Sta. Maria
Therese Sta. Maria

Therese's close friends know that if they haven’t seen her around recently, then she’s probably having an adventure with her luggage and camera in hand. Though she loves staying at home and spending lazy afternoons with friends, there are times when she has to be "away from home to feel at home," — that’s when she’s bitten by the travel bug. See her travels on Instagram @reesstamaria.