SEOUL, July 8 (UPI) — North Korea‘s continued crackdown on media from the outside world is taking a toll on the population, and at least one woman has committed suicide after being apprehended by authorities.
A source in North Korea told Radio Free Asia as “North Korean authorities have significantly stepped up crackdowns on illegal footage, they are also spreading a politics of fear.”
The enforcement measurements are being undertaken by the “109 Combined Command” of the regime’s state security department, the source said.
In May, the unit searched the home of a female university student without warning and found a memory chip with several South Korean films, the source said.
The source identified the woman as a senior at an arts college in Chongjin, a North Korean border city. She committed suicide in a restroom during interrogations, according to the report.
“[She] chose to kill herself in order to prevent further penalties reaching her friends,” the source said.
The 109 Combined Command is known for unexpectedly raiding the homes of even Workers’ Party, military and government officials and indiscriminately penalizing them for illicit activities.
Another source in North Hamgyong Province said a woman in her forties under state investigation committed suicide by jumping from the fifth floor of a building.
Popular South Korean media has been circulating in the North, making its way across the border with China.
Last November three women were reportedly executed for making copies of a South Korean television show then distributing the media.