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N Korea applies death penalty to phone owners

North Korea's hardline leadership has reportedly been executing citizens found with mobile phones

In the West we take it for granted that owning any piece of technology - assuming we can afford it - is entirely up to us. But it isn't like that everywhere in the world. Increasing numbers of reports are showing that the totalitarian regime in North Korea has taken to executing anyone caught with a mobile phone.

One such example is this AP story in Cellular News . It quotes a South Korean think tank as claiming to have evidence that its northern neighbour is so desperate for its citizens not to communicate with the outside world that it feels the need to make mobile ownership a capital offence and is actually killing increasing numbers of people for the seemingly trivial 'offence'.

Although there is no public wireless network, previously reported evidence shows that some North Koreans have been able to use their illicit phones to make and receive calls on several Chinese networks whose coverage extends well into the hermit state.