05 December 2022 :
North Korea has publicly executed three teenagers by firing squad – two for watching and distributing South Korean movies and one for murdering his stepmother – two sources who witnessed it told Radio Free Asia.
The alleged crimes committed by the teens, estimated to be 16 or 17, were equally evil, authorities told terrified residents, who were forced to watch, the sources said.
“They said, ‘Those who watch or distribute South Korean movies and dramas, and those who disrupt social order by murdering other people, will not be forgiven and will be sentenced to the maximum penalty–death,’” a resident of the city of Hyesan, on the border with China, where the execution took place, told RFA’s Korean service.
The execution took place in October at an airfield in the city, the resident said.
“Hyesan residents gathered in groups at the runway,” she said. “The authorities put the teen-aged students in front of the public, sentenced them to death, and immediately shot them.”
Such executions are rare in North Korea, but not unheard-of. Authorities typically use executions to terrify people into behaving in the way they want them to.
The executions occurred about a week after authorities held public meetings to tell the public that they were going to get tough on crimes involving foreign media, especially from South Korea.
The two teenagers who were executed were caught trying to sell thumb drives containing the contraband media in their local marketplace. Officials plant spies among the public who would then report the sellers to the police, the source said.
“The students were caught in a trap this time,” she said.
News of the execution has spread and terrified people, a resident of neighboring North Hamgyong province told RFA on condition of anonymity to speak freely.
“Despite intensive control and crackdowns to eradicate reactionary thought and culture, young people are still caught secretly watching South Korean movies. … So now the authorities are embarking on a reign of terror through public execution,” the second source said.