A group of North Korean soldiers was reportedly sent to a political prison camp after its members were caught dancing BTS moves.
Army’s armies: On Aug. 5, three soldiers from the Korean People’s Army Air and Anti-Air Force Command unit were arrested for allegedly performing dance moves that world-renowned K-pop group BTS used in their hit single “Blood, Sweat & Tears,” reported Daily NK.
- The soldiers, who are in their 20s, were traveling on a Pyongyang train headed for Hyesan for a tour of Mount Paekdu.
- After a power outage forced their train to stop at Sokhu Station in South Hamgyong Province, they spent their time waiting for the train to move again by dancing.
- Two high-ranking officers reportedly spotted the three soldiers and had them immediately detained.
- The young men were dragged off by security personnel and eventually arrested for “imitating a corrupt dance from South Chosun [South Korea] while heading [to Mt. Baekdu] to learn about the revolutionary spirit of patriotic martyrs,” according to Daily NK.
- The officials most likely recognized the BTS dance moves because “there is a special department within the agency” that is reportedly tasked to watch foreign videos for three hours once every week as part of their duties.
The aftermath: While the three soldiers previously had unblemished records, their civil rights and “political honor” were taken away following a six-month preliminary hearing that ended in February, according to an updated Daily NK report.
- The soldiers were then sent to the Kaechon Political Prison Camp. It was assumed that they would only be getting a dishonorable discharge or half a year of disciplinary labor. However, the Military Security Command considered the action a “decadent phenomenon of reactionary ideology and culture” that occurred during a trip to a “holy site of the revolution.”
- It was also highlighted that General Political and Military Security Command officers found the dance problematic, especially since other soldiers were watching as well.
- The Military Security Command also accused the soldiers of having inconsistent testimonies during questioning as they denied knowing that the dance was from South Korea and falsely testified about when they learned the dance.
- The soldiers allegedly argued that the authorities had overlooked them when they previously performed the same dance at their base in Pyongsong.
This case marks the first “example” of soldiers being tried for crimes related to a new law calling for “the rejection of reactionary ideology and culture,” which North Korea imposed in December 2020.
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