Exclusive video obtained by BBC Korean reveals North Korea publicly convicting two teenage boys to 12 years of hard labor for viewing South Korean dramas.

The footage, believed to be recorded in 2022, depicts two 16-year-old boys restrained with handcuffs in an open-air stadium surrounded by a large audience of students.

Uniformed officers are seen admonishing the boys for their failure to “thoroughly contemplate their errors.”

It’s important to note that Pyongyang strictly prohibits the dissemination of internal materials beyond its borders, making access to such footage exceptionally rare.

Indications suggest that authorities are intensifying their stance on such incidents. The footage has purportedly been disseminated within North Korea for ideological instruction, emphasizing the consequences of engaging in “decadent recordings.”

The video features a narrator echoing state propaganda, condemning the influence of what it perceives as the “corrupt puppet regime’s culture,” likely alluding to South Korea. The voice asserts, “The rotten puppet regime’s culture has spread even to teenagers,” and laments that, despite being only 16 years old, the boys have “ruined their own future.”

Adding a more alarming dimension, the boys were publicly identified by officers, and their addresses were disclosed.

Historically, minors involved in such infractions would be directed to youth labor camps rather than incarceration, and the punishments typically did not exceed five years. The current case, however, demonstrates a notable departure from these past practices.