North Korean authorities sentenced the smuggler, who brought in copies of the series from China before distributing them, to death by firing squad.

The case involves seven high school students in total. One, who bought the USB, received a life sentence in prison. Five others received sentencing to five years hard labour.

According to one of RFK's sources, one student avoided punishment as their "rich parents bribed the authorities with $3,000."

Allegedly, the punishments don't stop there. The principal plus several staff face potential banishment to work in remote mines after dismissal from the school.

The arrest of the students marks the first time that the government applied the newly passed law on the "Elimination of Reactionary Thought and Culture," in a case involving minors, according to the source.

The law carries a maximum penalty of death for watching, keeping, or distributing media from capitalist countries.

A 2019 Washington Post report documented that North Korean authorities consider South Korean media dangerous and encourages people to escape. K-pop and American pop music has had an instrumental role in undermining North Korean propaganda, it said.

'Squid Game' became Netflix's highest viewed series in the streamer's history last month. It racked up 1.65 billions viewing hours in its first thirty days.

In the series, HoYeon Jung plays Kang Sae-byeok, a North Korean defector and pickpocket who needs money to support her younger brother and track down her mother in North Korea.