North Korea has reportedly executed three teenagers for distributing and watching K-dramas from South Korea.
As reported by outlets like Chosun Ilbo, three high school students were caught watching and importing TV shows from their neighboring country in early October. The act of consuming audiovisual content from South Korea is considered a crime as stated in a new law passed in December 2020. While underage individuals were not executed for disobeying the law previously, it seems the punishment is now applicable even to teenagers.
According to reports, the three male students were based in Hyesan, a city near the border between North Korea and China. They watched multiple episodes of South Korean and American TV shows, and were later caught circulating these materials with their peers.
Despite the harsh consequences, it's known that North Korean citizens still consume South Korean content. According to a survey conducted by the Unification Media Group, 96% of respondents noted that they have watched hit K-dramas such as Squid Game and Crash Landing on You.
This isn't the first time North Korea has executed its citizens for being exposed to content from South Korea. Last year, it was reported that seven individuals were killed for watching K-pop music videos, which Kim Jong-un describes to be a "vicious cancer." Meanwhile, in December 2021, the country banned laughing and drinking for 11 days in commemorating the 10th anniversary of Kim Jong-il's death.