Home News North Korean teenagers sentenced to hard labour over K-drama

North Korean teenagers sentenced to hard labour over K-drama

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North Korean teenagers sentenced to hard labour over K-drama

Rare footage obtained by BBC Korean shows North Korea publicly sentencing two teenage boys to 12 years of hard labour for watching K-dramas

Chilling footage shows North Korean teenagers sentenced to hard labour over K-drama
Chilling footage shows North Korean teenagers sentenced to hard labour over K-drama

The footage, which appears to have been filmed in 2022, shows two 16-year-old boys handcuffed in front of hundreds of students at an outdoor stadium.

It also shows uniformed officers reprimanding the boys for not “deeply reflecting on their mistakes”.

South Korean entertainment, including TV, is banned in the North.

Despite that, some are prepared to risk severe punishment to access K-dramas, which have a huge global audience.

Chilling footage shows North Korean teenagers sentenced to hard labour over K-drama
Chilling footage shows North Korean teenagers sentenced to hard labour over K-drama

Footage such as this is rare, because North Korea forbids photos, videos and other evidence of life in the country from being leaked to the outside world.

This video was provided to the BBC by the South and North Development (Sand), a research institute that works with defectors from the North.

It suggests authorities are coming down harder on such incidents. The clip has reportedly been distributed in North Korea for ideology education and to warn citizens not to watch “decadent recordings”.

The video includes a narrator who is repeating state propaganda. “The rotten puppet regime’s culture has spread even to teenagers,” says the voice, in an apparent reference to South Korea. “They are just 16 years old, but they ruined their own future,” it adds.

Chilling footage shows North Korean teenagers sentenced to hard labour over K-drama
A sea of young students, all of whom were wearing face masks and matching uniforms, are seen watching the two youngsters as they were handcuffed and taken away by two uniformed officials

The boys were also named by officers and had their addresses revealed.

In the past, minors who broke the law in this way would be sent to youth labour camps rather than put behind bars, and the punishment was usually less than five years.

 

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