A North Korean man has been sentenced to death by firing squad after smuggling and selling copies of the hit TV show Squid Game.
Authorities caught the man after seven high school students were found to be watching the Netflix series, which has been a global phenomenon.
The copy was reportedly smuggled from China in the form of a USB stick and sold to a student in North Korea, who then shared it with their friends.
109 Sangmu, the government's surveillance service, caught the students after allegedly receiving a tip-off from an unidentified source. The smuggler has since been sentenced to death by firing squad.
Severe punishments have also been given out to the students who watched the show, including a life sentence for the student who bought the copy.
The other students who watched the cult show have also been sentenced to five years of hard labour.
Punishments, however, have not stopped with those involved in the incident.
The headteacher of the school, the student's teachers and the school administrators are all being held responsible.
These individuals have not only lost their jobs but according to a source talking to Radio Free Asia: "They were also expelled from the party. It is certain that they will be sent to toil in coal mines or exiled to rural parts of the country."
This has caused mass anxiety amongst other teachers, with the same source remarking: "School teachers are all worrying that it could happen to them too if one of their students is also caught up in the investigation."
A new North Korean law on the 'Elimination of Reactionary Thought and Culture', according to the source, has led to a crackdown on distributing media from capitalist countries, with the maximum penalty being death.
However, this is reportedly the first time that the law has been applied to a case involving minors.
In the aftermath of this incident, another source told the RFA that authorities have been going through markets to find any memory devices that contain foreign media.
The source stated: "the residents are all trembling in fear because they will be mercilessly punished for buying or selling memory storage devices, no matter how small."
As well as this feeling of widespread anxiety, residents of the province are also feeling a sense of injustice at class inequality amid rumours that one of the students arrested was able to avoid punishment because they were able to bribe the authorities with $3,000.
The second source stated: "Residents are complaining that the world is unfair because if parents have money and power even their children who are sentenced to death can be released."
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