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Student in North Korea “sentenced to death” for selling copies of ‘Squid Game’

He is said to have smuggled the banned dystopian series into the country on a USB drive from China

By Nick Reilly

A still from Squid Game on Netflix of the guards and players
An episode still from 'Squid Game', Netflix's biggest ever debut. Photo: Netflix

A student in North Korea has been reportedly sentenced to death by firing squad for selling copies of Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’.

He is said to have smuggled the banned dystopian series into the ruthless Communist state on a USB drive from China.

The man was caught after selling copies of the show to other students, sources in the country have told  Radio Free Asia (RFA).

It is believed he will now be executed by firing squad for the offence, mirroring the brutal deaths shown in the South Korean series.

Copies of the show are believed to be circulating on flash drives and SD cards, in defiance of leader Kim Jong-un’s strict censorship laws in the dictatorship.

A police officer from the country’s North Hamgyong province told Radio Free Asia: “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.

“The friend told several other students, who became interested, and they shared the flash drive with them. They were caught by the censors in 109 Sangmu, who had received a tipoff.”

The arrest is also thought to mark the first time that North Korea is applying its “Law on the Elimination of Reactionary Thought and Culture” in a case involving youngsters.

The law was introduced in December last year in a bid to halt the dissemination of western movies, books and music. But it is thought to take a particularly hard-line stance on South Korean media.

‘Squid Game’ is the most-watched show in Netflix’s history, with 142 million households worldwide having streamed it. It topped viewing rankings in 94 countries, and a second season is apparently in the works.

The series has proved controversial, with schools and parents alike voicing concern over its influence on children. Earlier this month, a giant ‘Squid Game’ doll at Manchester’s Trafford Centre proved divisive.