Minors publicly executed in N. Korea for viewing and distributing S. Korean dramas

North Korea has executed three minors by firing squad: one for murdering his stepmother and two for watching and distributing South Korean dramas.

Residents of Hyesan, where the executions took place, were reportedly forced to watch the executions in October. They were told by authorities that the crimes allegedly committed by the teenagers — estimated to be between 16 and 17 years old — were equally evil, witnesses told Radio Free Asia (RFA).

“They said, ‘Those who watch or distribute South Korean movies and dramas, and those who disrupt social order by murdering other people, will not be forgiven and will be sentenced to the maximum penalty–death,’” a resident told RFA’s Korean service. “Hyesan residents gathered in groups at the runway. … The authorities put the teen-aged students in front of the public, sentenced them to death, and immediately shot them.”

Just a week before the executions, authorities reportedly held public meetings warning that crimes involving foreign media would be punished more harshly.

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Concerns in North Korea of South Korean media influencing its youth have been boiling over in recent years. In December 2020, it was announced that those in possession of South Korean media or art would be subject to 15 years in prison under North Korea's new anti-reactionary thoughts law. A year later, eight teenagers were put on trial for viewing and imitating scenes from the popular K-drama "Crash Landing on You."

The two teenagers were reportedly caught trying to sell flash drives of the contraband media by spies planted among local marketplaces by authorities.


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