December 29, 2014 12:39
North Korea last Thursday launched a task force within the State Security Department to prevent Sony Pictures' film about a plot to assassinate leader Kim Jong-un from being smuggled into the North, according to a source.
The regime seems to have now turned its attention to blocking pirated DVDs of the caper "The Interview" from being smuggled into the North after it failed to prevent its release despite a hacking attack and threats against Sony Pictures.
A three-star general in the State Security Department assisted by about a dozen officials has launched a task force at the provincial security office in Hyesan, Ryanggang Province, the source said last Friday.
He told senior security officials, police officers, border guards, and a squadron in charge of cracking down on foreign media content to block the smuggling of the film. "The regime has started cracking down on the black market, while keeping close watch on smugglers in the border area," the source added. "Officials are visiting homes and checking computers and DVD players."
Meanwhile, the off-the-rack caper starring Seth Rogen has become an unlikely Internet sensation. The film has been illegally downloaded 750,000 times on BitTorrent around the world, press reports said.
This figure shows that the illegal downloads soared in the first 20 hours of Sony's release of the film on some websites on Wednesday and figure will likely grow.
Pirated DVDs are already circulating in China, from where they stand the best chance of being smuggled into the North. On Chinese microblogging site Weibo, the film can also be streamed with Chinese subtitles. It has had more than 500,000 views on file-sharing websites, suggesting millions of Chinese have watched the film.
Judging by online comments some enjoyed it, many were bored, and a few suspected a marketing stunt by Sony for a movie that would otherwise have sunk like a stone.
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