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Why is this ‘Squid Game’ fan facing the death penalty?

For most of us who have been watching movies since the early 2000s, we all have someone who has burned us a copy of a hot new movie or TV show on a CD-ROM. Sites like Limewire & Piratebay are household names worldwide for providing access to films, music, and TV before its official release. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to forget that sites like these are illegal, as well as receiving any copyrighted material without purchasing it. 

A man who pirated the smash hit South Korean Netflix series Squid Game and brought it into North Korea has been sentenced to death for smuggling media from South Korea. United States-based independent news agency Radio Free Asia reports that the man was taken into custody after authorities caught high school students watching Squid Game while at school.

What is going to become of the Squid Game smuggler? Let’s take a closer look.

Deadly transport

According to the report, the pirated material was smuggled in from China on USB flash drives and that the smuggler faces death by firing squad. “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,” Radio Free Asia reported. 

They continued to report that the response to the sentencing has created great public anxiety due to the widespread practice of bootlegging movies, threatening to implicate scores more.

Censorship legislation

As recently reported by Variety, North Korea passed the “Elimination of Reactionary Thought and Culture” act in December of 2020, which prohibits the entry and dissemination of cultural material like films, plays, music, and books in the country. Upon a closer look at the measure, it appears to be aimed at preventing the spread of media from South Korea & the United States. 

Those found distributing or consuming these are liable to be punished to the full extent of the law. Unfortunately, this would not be the first time this has happened. According to widespread reports, in April this year a man was publicly executed for selling drives & CDs containing South Korean material.

Big on Netflix

Squid Game is a South Korean survival thriller created by Hwang Dong-hyuk. The series chronicles a ragtag group of heavily in debt contestants who agree to participate in a mysterious survival game with a grand prize of nearly $40 million. The game calls for the playing of several traditional children’s games with deadly twists for anyone who fails. Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, and Wi Ha-joon star in the series to raucous acclaim. 

All nine episodes of the show’s first season debuted in September of this year, and the show became a household name through word-of-mouth praise across social media. Within the first 28 days of its release, Squid Game amassed a viewing hour total of 1.6 billion. That number made it the biggest Netflix original TV series in history and the single biggest piece of original Netflix content.

Squid Game continues to stream worldwide on Netflix, and the series creator has publicly expressed interest in adding another round of episodes. However, Netflix has yet to announce the next season of the smash hit show. Netflix itself is currently not available in China, yet Squid Game has been pirated amongst fans far & wide throughout the country.


Do you believe that the death penalty sentence is too harsh? What do you think it will take for the death penalty sentence to be overturned? Let us know in the comments!

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