According to Radio Free Asia, the man is set to be put to death by the firing squad while six other high school students who were caught watching the show are also going to be punished.
A student who bought a flash drive has received a life sentence while six other students who watched the show have been handed five years of hard labour with teachers and school administrators fired and face being banished to work in remote mines or for themselves, the RFA reported.
A North Korean student has been sentenced to death after he smuggled copies of Squid Game into the country. Picture: News Corp
The students had been sharing the show via USB flash drives and SD cards and watching it during class which led the authorities to track down the teachers.
Local sources said the show had spread quickly among friends before they were caught by a government censorship agency.
“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 tip-off,” the source told RFA, referring to the government agency which specialises in catching illegal video watchers.
The arrests of the high school students is the first time the government has applied a recently passed law on the “Elimination of Reactionary Thought and Culture,” in a case involving minors, the source said.
According to the RFA report, the law which was created last year carries a maximum penalty for watching, keeping or distributing media from capitalist nations, especially from South Korea and the United States.
The Netflix TV series Squid Game has become the most watched show on the service. Picture: News Corp
The North Korean government has reportedly taken the incident “very seriously” and is making moves to punish the teachers who – likely unknowingly – allowed the students to watch the show in class.
“The government is taking this incident very seriously, saying that the students’ education was being neglected. The Central Committee dismissed the school principal, their youth secretary, and their homeroom teacher,” the source told RFA.
“They were also expelled from the party. It is certain that they will be sent to toil in coal mines or exiled to rural parts of the country, so other school teachers are all worrying that it could happen to them too if one of their students is also caught up in the investigation.”
Despite the harsh penalties from the North Korean government, RFA reported that one student may escape punishment with a bribe.
“But regardless of how strict the government’s crackdown seems to be, rumours are circulating that among the seven arrested students, one with rich parents was able to avoid punishment because they bribed the authorities with US $3,000,” a second source said.
“Residents are complaining that the world is unfair because if parents have money and power even their children who are sentenced to death can be released.”

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