At least 100 Pyongyang citizens have been internally exiled to remote mountainous areas after searches revealed they had viewed or were in possession of South Korean video content or other recorded materials, a Pyongyang-based source told Daily NK over the weekend.
According to the source, crackdowns on filmed content produced overseas have been intensifying of late, and a group formed especially for the purpose of conducting house raids has played a part in the exile of over 100 citizens since early March.
“The formation of groups to suppress video content thought to incite 'anti-socialist elements,' like South Korean dramas, is not a new thing. However, it’s now common for teams to show up unexpectedly at someone’s home late at night to search for these recordings,” the source reported.
Furthermore, “People brought in to the police station for either viewing illegal material or having it in their possession are only briefly investigated before being immediately exiled. Over 100 have disappeared in this way in the last two months alone and people are panic-stricken.”
Despite reports that a number of high-ranking cadres were executed by firing squad last year for viewing South Korean videos and “obscene” recordings, the source conveyed that public executions do not appear to have been ordered this time around.
Nevertheless, the source confirmed that the forcible exile of over 100 people in such a short period time for this type of crime is an unprecedented move, and one that shows just how sensitive the North Korean regime is to material produced abroad.
“They carried out executions as a warning to others, but even that didn’t stop the spread of the videos, so now they’ve decided to chase out [the problem]. The authorities emphasize ideological purity, and they can’t change their position,” the source added.
Meanwhile, “Those forcibly exiled from Pyongyang can no longer receive the benefits of living in the capital, like rations, electricity and water. If you are exiled to the countryside your freedom is instantly suppressed, so people are growing increasingly cautious. Traders who had been planning to secretly sell [video content] can no longer make any mention of ‘items from the neighborhood below [South Korea].’”