The North Korean authorities publicly executed a citizen as a punishment for violating the restrictive measures imposed against the background of the coronavirus. This is reported by Radio Free Asia, citing sources.
вЂњSince the end of November, the Central Committee of the [Korean workers' party] has strengthened existing emergency quarantine measures to 'ultra-high-level emergency quarantine measures', вЂњ a resident of North Pyongan province (Pyeongan-Pukto) on the border with China told the newspaper.
вЂњThey staged a public execution by firing squad to frighten local residents in the border area, as there was a lot of contact with people on the other side of the border, including a lot of smuggling,вЂќ the source said. The person sentenced to death was a man in his 50s who was accused of smuggling with Chinese business partners across the border, which was closed for most of 2020.
China is North Korea's largest trading partner and aid sponsor, but trade between the two countries has fallen by 75 percent due to the pandemic. Fearing that smugglers might carry the virus, North Korean authorities have increased their military presence at the border to enforce restrictions.
In November, it was reported that North Korea executed people, closed the capital, and suspended fishing and salt production.
Despite North Korea publicly declaring that the country does not have the virus, the state authorities decided to impose strict measures to prevent its spread, including the introduction of lockdowns in cities and districts, the cancellation of major cultural events, and a ban on travel between provinces.