On April 25, North Korean authorities reportedly publicly executed a citizen for the crime of illegally selling USBs and CDs that contained South Korean movies, dramas, and music videos.
According to Daily NK, which reports on North Korean affairs from the south of the peninsula using a network of informants, a firing squad killed the man, surnamed Lee, in front of a crowd of 500 people.
Those witnesses included the city's officials and their families, university students, and teachers.
Lee's immediate family was reportedly forced to stand in the front row to watch.
Worked as a chief engineer
The Daily NK reported that Lee had worked as a chief engineer at the Wonsan Farming Management Commission.
He was caught by his neighbourhood watch unit leader’s daughter, while secretly selling the devices showing South Korean media.
She subsequently reported him to the authorities, who arrested Lee shortly after.
A source told Daily NK that after the execution, Lee’s wife, son, and daughter had collapsed where they were standing.
They were then picked up and transported by Ministry of State Security officials to a political prisoner camp.
Executed under the anti-reactionary thought law
Lee is the first to be executed in the province, under the new anti-reactionary thought law implemented late last year.
The law criminalises the consumption and distribution of outside information, including foreign news, radio broadcasts and South Korean music and entertainment.
According to the Daily NK, the Ministry of State Security is also searching for those who purchased the videos from Lee.
A source said: “Nowadays, if you are caught watching a South Korean video, you receive a sentence of either life in prison or death, so nobody knows who will be executed next."
It is also a crime if a North Korean is aware of the sale but did not report it.
A seven-year sentence can be imposed for not reporting someone who watched or distributed South Korean media, added the source.
Top image via Getty Images