North Korea was always likely to find the success of Squid Game contentious but sentencing a man to death for smuggling copies of the show? That seems a bit much. 

As reported by Variety via RFA, a U.S.-headquartered independent news agency, that’s exactly what’s happened though. Authorities have sentenced a man to death for allegedly smuggling copies of the gigantic Netflix hit after high school children were caught watching it.

The man supposedly brought the episodes of the show on USB flash drives obtained in China. The smuggler now faces death by firing squad, which sounds eerily similar to an actual Squid Game storyline.

“A student who bought a drive received a life sentence, while six others who watched the show have been sentenced to five years hard labor, and teachers and school administrators have been fired and face banishment to work in remote mines,” RFA stated.

The smuggler went against North Korea’s “Elimination of Reactionary Thought and Culture” act, which prohibits the entry and dissemination of media in the form of films, plays, music, and books.

As the 2020 act was mainly put in place to prohibit material from their neighbours to the South and also from the U.S., a show like Squid Game being distributed was always going to be viewed unkindly.

According to the RFA report, there is much anxiety over what awaits the high school students who watched the show. More people are expected to be involved in the investigation.

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The smuggler might think himself unlucky considering only last month, a North Korean propaganda site used Squid Game as evidence that South Korea is “infested by the rules of survival of the fittest, corruption and immorality.”

Let’s hope the latest South Korean TV phenomenon doesn’t cause as much consternation in North Korea: the fantasy horror Hellbound has now overtaken Squid Game as Netflix’s biggest show globally.

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Check out the trailer for Squid Game: