SEOUL, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- North Korea has executed three women for distributing a South Korean television drama, according to a source in the country.
The three women, all housewives, were found guilty of making copies of a television show then circulating the media, Radio Free Asia reported Wednesday.
According to the North Korea-based source, the women resided near Hyesan University of the Arts, in Yanggang Province, and were apprehended by authorities for copying and distributing the South Korean TV drama Until the Azaleas Bloom, a 1998 miniseries based on the true story of a North Korean dancer who defected to the South with her husband in the 1990s. The show includes frank depictions of life in North Korea and the inequality that prevails between ordinary North Koreans and the power-holding elite.
The women were related – two of the women were sisters, and the third was a sister-in-law, according to the source.
North Koreans continue to suffer wide-scale human rights abuses, and the United Nations has stated in a report filed with the 70th Session of the U.N. General Assembly that summary executions, abductions, enforced disappearances and human trafficking still take place on a large scale in the country.
North Koreans attempting to flee the country also risk danger, but more defectors are seeking asylum in the South.
Voice of America reported on Wednesday Thai police apprehended seven North Korean defectors in northern Thailand, near the Mekong River.
The defectors did not hold passports and the age range was broad, from the 20s to the 70s.
During police interrogations, the group said they had come from North Korea, and that they knew if they are detained in Thailand they are handed over to the Korean embassy in Bangkok, from where they can travel safely to the South.
The report comes a day after an unidentified South Korean government official said 10 defectors were arrested in Vietnam and were repatriated to China.
Nine of the 10 defectors are at risk of repatriation to North Korea.