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Sources said the man was sentenced to death by firing squad after he admitted tuning into Radio Free Asia (RFA) and other media outlets transmitted from abroad. Washington-backed RFA broadcasts six hours of Korean-language programming daily into North Korea over short wave radio from transmitters located about 1,900 miles away in the Northern Mariana Islands, and medium wave transmitters in South Korea.
They publicly shot him at the base in front of 100 other captains and managers
North Korean insider
Kim Jong-un’s North Korea goes to great lengths to prevent citizens from listening to outside information but fishermen and merchant seamen often hear forbidden broadcasts while at sea.
The man, named as Captain Choi who was in his 40s, is understood to have been turned in by a resentful crew member at his home port in the northeastern city of Chongjin.
A law enforcement official from North Hamgyong province told RFA: “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.
“We know that the captain’s surname was Choi and he was in his 40s.
“He was working out of a fishery base affiliated with the Central Party’s Bureau 39.”
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The insider continued: “Choi was the owner of a fleet of over 50 ships. During an investigation by the provincial security department, Captain Choi confessed to listening to RFA broadcasts since the age of 24, when he was serving in the military as a radio operator.
“After he finished military service, he continued to listen to RFA. They say that listening to RFA brought back fond memories of his days in the military.
“It also seems he was under the illusion that because he was part of Bureau 39’s fishing base, he would be immune to criminal charges, and that seems to have brought on tough consequences for him.
“We know that 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 also dismissed or discharged party officials, the base’s administration and the security officers who allowed Choi to work at sea.”
Another source said Captain Choi had confessed during his investigation to continuously listening to news of the outside world and music programming from RFA.
The source said: “The security authorities decided then that the time to re-educate him had long past, so they executed him by firing squad.
“It is really common for people who work on ships to enjoy broadcasts in the Korean language, such as RFA, through their radio communicators when they go out to the sea.
“Therefore, it seems that the authorities made an example out of Choi to imprint on the residents that listening to outside radio stations means death.”
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State-run Korean Central News Agency recently reported that the Supreme People’s Assembly had passed the “Reactionary Ideology and Culture Rejection Law” as part of Pyongyang’s crackdown on people caught consuming foreign media.
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