Squid Game unexpectedly took the world by storm when it arrived on Netflix back in September. The streaming service reported that more than 111 million households watched at least part of the South Korean series within 28 days of its arrival, a new Netflix record. However, since Netflix isn't available in North Korea, for obvious reasons, none of those 111 million households are in South Korea's neighboring country.
At least not officially. It was recently reported by RFA that copies of Squid Game have been smuggled into North Korea on USB drives and SD cards. That flies right in the face of a relatively new law prohibiting the distribution of media from capitalist countries such as South Korea. One of North Korea's Squid Game smugglers has now been caught, and again according to RFA, the smuggler has been sentenced to death by firing squad for their crime.
This saga began last week when a student brought a USB drive with Squid Game on into class and watched it with others. While the man who smuggled the drive into the country will be killed, the student who showed it to others has been sentenced to life in prison. Six other students who watched the show have been sentenced to hard labor, and the teachers who have presumably been accused of allowing this all to happen may lose their jobs and could even be banished to work in remote mines.
A source in law enforcement in North Korea's North Hamgyong province told RFA that Surveillance Bureau Group 109, a task force that specializes in tracking down anyone watching illegal videos, had received a tip-off. That resulted in the smuggler being tracked down, as well as the student who received the drive and everyone they had shown it to. The source also revealed that anyone else who happens to own or have seen a copy of Squid Game will currently be very afraid as the seven people arrested will be thoroughly interrogated.
While almost anything from South Korea, TV show or otherwise, is unwelcome in North Korea due to the conflict between the two countries, Squid Game will be a level above. As pointed out by RFA's law enforcement source, the show's premise will likely strike a chord with many North Korean's, especially those working high-risk jobs. The threat of death should you be caught watching and distributing the show will likely stamp out any trace of it in the country pretty quickly, though.
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