Man reportedly sentenced to death by firing squad after smuggling ‘Squid Games’ into North Korea

I thought it was worth a mention for the meta-level irony. Life imitating social satire.

May be in bad taste, but I’ll go ahead and make the obvious joke: I wonder if they’ll give him a chance to go free by playing Red Light / Green Light?

Seriously though, I hope cooler heads prevail (not that North Korean leadership is known for that) and reduce or commute his sentence (assuming the story is actually true).

I would think the NK government ought to encourage Squid Games viewing as portraying South Korea in a bad light.

This article is more detailed.

Sheesh! It’s not like he was smuggling Rules of Engagement.

It is odd, when you think about it— why does North Korea have their panties in a bunch over it? It’s the ultimate satirical condemnation of Capitalism: a bunch of disadvantaged people fighting to the death so one person can win the entirety of a huge pot of money- literally becoming the 1% (I know, less than that even, mathematically). And the whole thing run by and for the enjoyment of rich plutocrats.

It can’t be the show’s violence they condemn, because killing a man by firing squad seems a counterproductive message to that.

Must just be a case of “Western Capitalist Culture bad”.

That may not be what it looks like to people in North Korea. Maybe they’re seeing not a condemnation specifically of capitalism, but a condemnation in general of pitting disadvantaged people against each other at the risk of death for the benefit of a priviledged few. Which is how tyrants in general stay in power; whatever their financial systems.

From the article linked in the OP:

Sources in that report said that the show’s dystopian world – in which marginalized people are pitted against one another in traditional children’s games for huge cash prizes and losing players are put to death – resonates with North Koreans in risky occupations and insecure positions.
[. . . ]
rumors are circulating that among the seven arrested students, one with rich parents was able to avoid punishment because they bribed the authorities with U.S. $3,000,” the second source said.

“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.”

Guess I should have done a better job reading my own linked article :blush:

Because of this:

Smuggling things into North Korea? The article didn’t tell me what country the smuggler came from, but it sounds like he might be North Korean.

I don’t think it has anything to do with the specific TV show. ALL South Korean culture and entertainment is banned in the North, with severe consequences if you’re caught smuggling it in.

Or ‘The Interview’.

The second article two posts further down writes it was China. It also says:

“This all started last week when a high school student secretly bought a USB flash drive containing the South Korean drama Squid Game and watched it with one of his best friends in class,” a source in law enforcement in North Hamgyong province told RFA’s Korean Service Monday.

Say what you want about North Korea’s justice system: Fast they are. (Bolding mine, evidently)

Doesn’t take long to consider you automatically guilty.

Appeals only take as long as you need to write a check.

I hate the smell of Poe’s Law in the evening.

The thing is, that sort of thing happens all the time. I’ve heard about those USB drive drops a lot. It’s a pretty common contraband item, which might be why a student could easily find one.

So I do suspect that the nature of the content may have mattered, too.

I’ve missed things in my own links occasionally.

Likely a BS story.
Like so many on N Korea before.

Aside from their general distain for any outside cultural influences, there’s also the specific issue that one of the main characters is a defector from NK, who at one point tells the story of her father being killed, and who is risking her life in part to earn enough money to get her mother out of NK.

So, “NK is so bad it’s worth risking death entertaining rich assholes to get out of NK.” Not hard to see why NK might disapprove of that message.

Right, I had forgotten that plot line, good call. That alone is plenty enough to get NK’s panties bunched up.

I do have to say, I take all these North Korean stories with a hefty, hefty grain of salt.

I recall reading an article by a north Korean defector about how the news in north Korea used to post videos of riots in the south. it was designed to make North Koreans feel the south was dystopian, but him and everyone else he knew was too busy watching how big the buildings in the south were and how many cars they had, and how healthy everyone looked instead.

it is probably on part the same with squid games.
even the poor in south Korea live like kings compared to the average north korean. they’ll probably be busty watching all the cars and food if they watch it.