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
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
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 can no longer make any
mention of ‘items from the neighborhood below [South Korea].’”