North Korea “executes 80 people for watching foreign films”
North Korea has publicly executed 80 people for watching foreign television programs, a South Korean newspaper claims. JoongAng Ilbo daily reported that the killings were carried out in seven separate cities on November 3, with an alleged 10,000 people forced to attend one group execution held in a sports stadium in the eastern port city Wonsan.
Citing a “single unidentified” individual as the source of the story, the newspaper said the majority of those executed had been charged with “watching illicit South Korean TV dramas and some with prostitution”.
The story gained credibility when Daily NK – an online media agency run by North Korean defectors – said it had also heard the reports of mass executions taking place.
During the front page report, the JoongAng Ilbo reporter cites another defector group as saying it had warned of a forthcoming wave of executions several months ago.
A spokesman for North Korea Intellectual Solidarity reportedly said “The regime is obviously afraid of potential changes in people’s mind-sets and is pre-emptively trying to scare people off”.
Watching films or television from capitalist countries – especially South Korea – is a serious offence in North Korea, but despite the risk of execution, shows like Desperate Housewives from the US have acquired a large following.
It is thought the majority of the programs are smuggled into the country on DVDs, MP3 players and Flash drives.
This entry was posted in DPRK Government, North Korean refugee by Grant Montgomery.
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The executions took place in cities such as Wonsan, Chongjin, Sariwon, Pyongsong. No executions occurred within the nation’s capital of Pyongyang.
An unnamed eyewitness told the paper that authorities brought an estimated 10,000 North Korean citizens to a sports stadium in the eastern port city of Wonsan to watch eight people tied to stakes with bags over their heads get shot by a machine gun-toting firing squad.
In August, Kim Jong Un was reported to have ordered the executions of a dozen entertainers from the Unhasu Orchestra and the Wangjaesan Light Music Band, including ex-girlfriend Hyon Song Wol. Chosun Ilbo, another leading South Korean daily, said the troupe members reportedly filmed themselves having sex and sold the videos on the black market to earn money.
Creating pornography and watching media from capitalist countries such as South Korea and the United States is considered a major offense in North Korea.
If confirmed, the mass executions would be the most brutal step known to have been taken by the country’s 30-year-old leader, Kim Jong Un, who came to power two years ago after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il.