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North Korea sentences man to death for smuggling copies of

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A man who allegedly smuggled copies of Netflix’s South Korean thriller Squid Game into North Korea has been sentenced to death after authorities caught high schoolers watching the show.

RFA, a US-headquartered independent news agency, reported (via Variety) that the man carried episodes of Squid Game on USB flash drives obtained in China. The smuggler faces death by firing squad, which doesn’t sound too far off from the occurrences in the show.

“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 reported.

The smuggler’s actions go against North Korea’s “Elimination of Reactionary Thought and Culture” act, which prohibits the entry and dissemination of media like films, plays, music, and books in the country. The act was largely put in place to eradicate material from South Korea and the US, and those found distributing or consuming such material are liable to punishment.

Unsurprisingly, North Korea wasn’t thrilled about Squid Game, which touches on the conflict between North and South Korea . In October, a North Korean propaganda site claimed the series proves that life in South Korea is “infested by the rules of survival of the fittest, corruption and immorality.”

In the US, some schools banned Squid Game-themed Halloween costumes, fearing they’d cause an uptick in “violent behavior.” Meanwhile, Australians had no problem embracing the show, with Netflix even commissioning a giant “Red Light, Green Light” doll in Sydney. Squid Game quickly beat out Bridgerton as Netflix’s most-watched original series of all time.

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