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Squid Game/Netflix

They say life imitates art, but for several people in North Korea that statement is hitting a little too close to home.

A North Korean man has reportedly been sentenced to death by firing squad for smuggling a copy of the wildly successful Netflix series Squid Game into the country.

The North Korean government has neither confirmed nor denied the report.



While it may not seem like an infraction commensurate with the death penalty, in North Korea the act was in direct violation of the country's recently passed Elimination of Reactionary Thought and Culture law which strictly prohibits content of this kind being brought into the country with the intent of distribution.



The smuggler, whose identity remains undisclosed, was discovered selling USB flash drives containing copies of the dystopian South Korean thriller to high school students.

The fallout of this incident is being felt by more than just the man in question and the students who purchased the USBs. Several teachers were implicated and are facing severe consequences too.

A source close to the incident told Radio Free Asia:

"The government is taking this incident very seriously, saying that the students' education was being neglected. The Central Committee dismissed the school principal, their youth secretary, and their homeroom teacher."
"They were also expelled from the [communist] party. It is certain that they will be sent to toil in coal mines or exiled to rural parts of the country, so other school teachers are all worrying that it could happen to them too if one of their students is also caught up in the investigation."

In an ironic twist, it was also reported one teen was absolved of all charges thanks to a likely substantial bribe paid by their wealthy parents.






North Korea has often been criticized for its handling of crimes that, in other countries, would amount to nothing more than petty misdemeanor offenses. With the country's heavy emphasis on maintaining a high level of censorship, the report came as no surprise to many.

But others questioned why a crime associated with a show that features adults strapped for cash fighting to the death in children's games for the amusement of the idle wealthy would be a cause for concern to the North Korean government.

They also questioned the sources of the reports.




Sources also reported the government launched an investigation to identify exactly how the man was able to smuggle copies of the show into the country despite strict border restrictions.

The entire ordeal is shaping up to be worthy of its own show on Netflix.