Report: Bootlegging “Squid Game” Gets North Korean Man Sentenced to Death

Fictional dystopia meets real dystopia

"Squid Game"
Squid Game series logo and Netflix's website in this illustration photo.
Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In most countries, watching a bootlegged copy of a movie or television show will get a stern warning or a fine. In North Korea, it can cost you your life. The AV Club shared the alarming news that a North Korean man was, according to a report in Radio Free Asia, sentenced to death as a result of of distributing bootleg copies of Squid Game to students.

According to reports, the man sentenced to death brought digital copies of Squid Game to North Korea via China using flash drives.

Radio Free Asia’s report offers still more troubling details — including the fact that the death sentence involves execution by firing squad. He’s not the only person to be punished in the case, either — a student who bought a flash drive from him was sentenced to life in prison, while several others will spend the next five years serving sentences working hard labor for simply watching the show.

Earlier this year, North Korea’s government passed a law forbidding its citizens from watching foreign films. The BBC’s report on the law’s passage notes that it specifically targets media originating in South Korea, Japan and the United States.

The Radio Free Asia report also cites rumors that one student caught watching Squid Game was able to avoid punishment due to their parents bribing the authorities — which makes the whole situation seem that much more horrific.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.