NORTH KOREA. THREE SENTENCED TO DEATH OVER ILLEGAL FILMS
January 16, 2008: North Korean authorities have passed death sentences on three people involved in handling movies smuggled from China and South Korea, said Good Friends, a Seoul-based aid group working in the North.
The sentencing in the northern border city of Onseong last month is part of the communist state's crackdown on foreign influences,
Sentenced to death were a local farmer, a senior communist youth group worker and a schoolteacher.
The 59 year-old farmer surnamed Jeon was charged with importing "illegal adult films" from Chinese dealers and selling them, it said. Seven other accomplices were ordered to undergo re-education.
In another case the teacher teamed up with a senior supervisor of the socialist youth league to copy 80 South Korean-made VCDs, which are banned in the North, and to distribute them, the report further added.
"Harsh penalties were applied in the latest cases because of the central government's reprimand for repeated similar illegalities in Onseong," it said.
North Korea has stepped up efforts to block the entry of foreign films, CDs and other multimedia material to protect the communist country and its people from what it calls "imperialist" influences. (Sources: Economic Times, Good Friends, 16/01/2008)