Footage shows teenagers sentenced to 12 years imprisonment with hard labour in for watching K-drama

Friday, January 19, 2024
 – Newly released rare footage shows the Secretive Republic of North Korea publicly sentencing two teenage boys to 12 years of hard labour for watching South Korean movies popularly known as K-dramas.

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 police officers reprimanding the boys for not "deeply reflecting on their mistakes".

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

But some people in the country are prepared to risk severe punishment to access K-dramas, which have a huge global audience.

North Korea forbids photos, videos and other evidence of life in the country from being leaked to the outside world, signifying how such footage is very rare.

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

In the video, a narrator 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.

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.

But in 2020, Pyongyang enacted a law to make watching or distributing South Korean entertainment punishable by death.

See the video below

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