3 North Korean soldiers reportedly sent to prison for doing BTS dance moves

The soldiers were apparently imitating the moves in "Blood Sweat and Tears".

Jean Chien Tay | October 29, 2021, 03:18 PM

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Three North Korean soldiers have been sent to a political prison camp after being caught imitating the dance moves of South Korean boy band BTS in their song "Blood Sweat and Tears", according to Daily NK.

The South Korea-based news site, which relies on its informants in North Korea for its reporting, said the trio in their 20s were caught imitating BTS' dance moves on a train, after a power outage caused their train to stop at a train station on the way to Mount Paekdu, a symbolic site believed to be the birthplace of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

The incident took place on Aug. 5, 2020, when a propaganda officer and a section chief from the Military Security Command (MSC) on the train saw the dance, and called the train station's personnel to arrest the three soldiers.

Initially believed to have been transported back to their unit, Daily NK later reported that the three soldiers were handed over to the MSC.

The MSC is an agency that monitors activities and gauges political loyalties of North Korean military personnel.

"Model soldiers"

The trio were arrested for “imitating a decadent dance from South Choson (South Korea) during a trip to Mount Paekdu, a holy site of the revolution, to learn the revolutionary spirit of the patriotic martyrs," according to Daily NK.

In a previous report, their fellow soldiers were surprised that the trio were labelled by the authorities as "ideologically corrupt to the core", as the three were "model soldiers".

After a six-months-long hearing, the trio had been stripped of their political honour and civil rights, and they have been sent to Kaechon Political Prison.

Denied knowing the dance was from South Korea

During interrogation, the soldiers reportedly said that they were "unaware" that the dance moves were from South Korea, and claimed that they have learned the moves in a military base.

They also pointed out that BTS's dance moves were popular in North Korean society, even before their military conscription.

Some North Korean soldiers raise doubts

Some soldiers in the North Korean military raised doubts about how the MSC personnel could recognise the dance and name the BTS's song, and questioned whether the MSC were watching BTS's videos themselves, according to Daily NK.

But the MSC is reportedly required to watch foreign videos for three hours a week in order to carry out their responsibilities. They were commended for plucking out the three soldiers as well.

"Decadent phenomenon"

The MSC deemed the incident a "decadent phenomenon of reactionary ideology and culture", Daily NK reported.

The agency further accused the trio of faulty understandings and attitudes, and said the soldiers were dishonest when they denied knowing that the dance was from South Korea.

The North Korean agency also reportedly stated that the trio had given inconsistent testimonies -- the soldiers said they learned the dance at their military base, but also said they were "following trends" in society before they joined the military.

The three soldiers are reportedly the first case to be tried for a law that was enacted in December 2020, months after their arrest.

Days after their arrest, North Korea's General Political Bureau reportedly distributed "political study and learning documents" to soldiers, and cited the trio as an example of imperialists targeting young soldiers.

Kim Jong Un says K-Pop is "vicious cancer"

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un previously referred to South Korean pop culture as a "vicious cancer" that corrupts young North Koreans in terms of "attire, hairstyle, speeches, (and) behaviours".

North Korean state media reportedly said K-Pop would make North Korea "crumple like a damp wall" if left unchecked.

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