The Associated Press news agency has reported that North Korea has publicly executed 80 people for watching smuggled South Korean TV shows.
The AP cites a South Korean newspaper, which claims a ‘single, unidentified’ individual as the source of the story.
“The source, said to be "familiar" with the North's internal affairs and recently returned from the country, said the executions were carried out in seven cities on November 3,” the AP said.
“In the eastern port of Wonsan, the authorities gathered 10,000 people in a sports stadium to watch the execution of eight people by firing squad, the source quoted one eyewitness as saying.
“Most were charged with watching illicit South Korean TV dramas, and some with prostitution.”
The agency also cited a dissdent online news agency which also reported that plans for a wave of public executions were underway.
"The regime is obviously afraid of potential changes in people's mindsets and is pre-emptively trying to scare people off," said one website official.
“Watching unsanctioned foreign films or TV -- especially those from the capitalist South -- is a serious offence in North Korea,” the AP reported.
It said that an increasing number of programmes were being smuggled in on DVDs, flash drives and mp3 players