According to Daily NK, a North Korean media outlet, a middle school student in Hyesan, North Korea was arrested after watching the South Korean film, The Man From Nowhere. While he only watched 5 minutes of the movie, it was reported that the 14-year-old was sentenced to 14 years of correctional labor in prison.
Just last year, North Korea enacted a new law called the Culture Rejection Act. According to this new law, any distribution of South Korea media can be punishable by death or up to 15 years of labor. And while the law does not specifically differentiate its punishment between juveniles and adults, it was reported that the North Korean authorities may be using this middle schooler as an example to relay a very stern message to their nation’s youths.
South Korean films and dramas have become successful all throughout the globe, including North Korea. North Korean authorities have caught onto to the popularity of South Korean media within their nation and have reportedly been creating fear amongst their citizens with their strict laws.
According to their law, the 14-year-old’s parents will most likely also be punished because of North Korea’s “joint system” policy. While the punishment should only be a fine of ₩100,000 KRW (about $84.50 USD)-₩200,000 KRW (about $169 USD), it’s been reported that parents have previously been sent to prison camps along with their children.
In February, a male North Korean student made headlines when he was caught watching pornography at home. It was reported that both him and his parents were deported to a prison together.