A North Korean fishing boat captain was reportedly publicly executed for listening to a banned foreign radio station.
According to the U.S. Government-funded Radio Free Asia, North Korea executed a 40 year-old man after he admitted to listening to radio broadcasts from Radio Free Asia, banned in the dictator state. North Korea has strict rules when it comes to what content citizens can consume to deny them access to information and news from outside the country’s borders.
The man identified as Chongjin, picked up the foreign broadcasts while he was out in the water off the coast of North Korea.
Chongjin is said to have been turned in by by one of his crew members at a fishing base in the port city of Chongjin, where his crew member confessed his “offense” to authorities. It’s believed that Chongjin, who was once a radio operator in the military, had started listening to foreign broadcasts while on service. Chongjin was charged with “subversion against the party.”
“In mid-October, a captain of a fishing boat from Chongjin was executed by firing squad, on charges of listening to Radio Free Asia regularly over a long period of time,” a source told the station.
“The provincial security department defined his crime as an attempt of subversion against the party. They publicly shot him at the base in front of 100 other captains and managers of the facility’s fish processing plants,” they added.
“They also dismissed or discharged party officials, the base’s administration and the security officers who allowed Choi to work at sea.”
A second source claimed to the news agency that the fisherman who had turned Chongjin in was “vengeance for Choi’s arrogant and disrespectful behavior so he reported him to the security department.”
They also claimed: “It seems that the authorities made an example out of Choi to imprint on the residents that listening to outside radio stations means death.”
Despite acts like this execution North Korea has failed to quash its people’s desire to obtain information from the outside world. Two refugees who escaped from North Korea to settle in the neighboring South told RFA that North Korean residents often listen to their broadcasts because they are ‘curious’.
“We can get a variety of content from CDs and memory sticks, but what North Koreans most want to know is news from the outside,” one said.
“Residents can get many outside broadcasts, but they prefer RFA because it can be heard clearly in the Korean language.”
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