According to a report from Radio Free Asia, a U.S. government-funded nonprofit known for its previous coverage on China, the individual in question is alleged to have brought a copy of the massive Netflix hit into North Korea, at which point he’s said to have sold flash drives of the show.
According to a law enforcement source cited in the report, a high school student “secretly bought” a Squid Game-containing flash drive and watched the show with a friend. That friend, per the source, told other students. Eventually, a tip off resulted in the students being caught.
The report adds that the alleged smuggler isn’t the only one who’s been sentenced in connection with the flash drives. A student is reported to have received a life sentence, while six other people who viewed the series have been given five-year sentences of hard labor. Several teachers and school officials have also been fired, per RFA. As for the alleged smuggler, he will reportedly be facing death by firing squad.
The same RFA-cited source claimed this is the first instance of the Elimination of Reactionary Thought and Culture law being used in a case that involved people under the age of 18. That law, which has popped up in a variety of stories over the past year, has been posited as being part of a larger effort to keep certain content out of the country.
This also doesn’t mark the first instance of such efforts putting a focus on the South Korean drama, a second season of which was recently confirmed by creator and director Hwang Dong-hyuk. Back in October, per Reuters, a “North Korean propaganda website” shared an article criticizing the series.