BURMA

Rangoon Police Launch Video Shop Crackdown After North Korean Pressure

The promotional poster for The Interview, a Hollywood satirical comedy film depicting an assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (Photo: Rick Wilking / Reuters)

The promotional poster for The Interview, a Hollywood satirical comedy film depicting an assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (Photo: Rick Wilking / Reuters)

CHIANG MAI, Thailand — Rangoon Police have moved to charge distributors and seize copies of satirical comedy film The Interview, which depicts an assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, following pressure from the North Korean Embassy.

After a meeting of Rangoon Division Chief Minister Myint Swe and North Korean ambassador Mr Kim Sok Chol on Sunday, the embassy sent a facsimile to the divisional government requesting “proper action immediately to stop the copying, distributing and selling” of The Interview in Rangoon, according to a document seen by The Irrawaddy. The office of the Rangoon Division government refused to comment when asked about the message.

Two movie stores in Botahtaung and Latha Township were named in the message as distributors of the film, including the M2M Shop on Latha Bounkyi Street, which was raided on Monday by township police officers who seized over 180 copies of foreign films.

“The seizure is part of the regular crackdown on uncensored films, and The Interview was among the foreign films seized,” said Latha Township deputy police chief Kyaw Kyaw Aung, who said the raid was a response to complaints. “The owner of the shop has now been charged under the Video Act.”

The junta-era 1996 Television and Video Act prevents the illegal copying of films and the distribution of films contrary to censorship directives, with a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment or a fine of 100,000 kyats (US$97).

Other movie sellers have shut their doors this week, with shop owners in Yuzana Plaza and Kyauktada Township telling The Irrawaddy they had been warned of possible arrest if found with copies of The Interview in their possession.

Nonetheless, copies of The Interview remain freely available in the streets of Rangoon for 500 kyats (US$0.49).

Released by a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment, The Interview depicts two American journalists, played by Seth Rogen and James Franco, who are coerced by the United States government into assassinating North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un.

Referred to by the North Korean Embassy’s facsimile as a “psychological plot” movie, Sony Pictures initially pulled the film after the company’s computer networks were compromised, allegedly by state-sponsored North Korean hackers. The film has since been screened in the US, but Sony has stated that the film will not receive a public release in the Asia-Pacific region outside of Australia and New Zealand.

The North Korean Embassy in Rangoon was sought for comment.

Additional Reporting by Nyein Nyein.


3 Responses to Rangoon Police Launch Video Shop Crackdown After North Korean Pressure

  1. It is very clear that the Myanmar government is still in association with the bad guys and it also indicates that they are still in the past and not 100% for the democratic reforms. If they truly believe in democracy why do they have to be friends with North Korea which is one of the most evil states in the world.

  2. North Korean Problems is not Burmese’s problems, they should be ashamed of themselves treating their own people like a dog

  3. This is a typical example that the Myanmar government officials are still “STOOGES, DANCE & JUMP to the order of the North Korean, Chinese,Russians when told to do so.

    What is it got to do if the general public want to see, watch & enjoy entertainment of any sort of what they want to watch.
    Who are these “Countries of Government” to “DICTATE” what freedom Myanmar people should have,want or choose to watch as entertainment.
    May I say that, this is the only way out for the people of the country to forget & enjoy themselves from all the problems, red tape & relax from all the mayhem & problems that exist.

    This just “PROVES” that the present “Government are “STOOGES”, to the countries that supply them with all the “WEAPONS & ARMS” that they need to use against any “ETHNIC” group they wish to wipe out.

    Isn’t it time that the Myanmar Government that wants to claim to be on the road to a new era in “POLITICS & DIRECTION” stopped being a “STOOGE & SLAVE” to these countries.

    This also proves that the Government does & will never give to the people of Myanmar, the “FREEDOM of SPEECH, CHOICE & INDEPENDENCE” that they are entitled to.

    See, this is the problem that will always exist as the “NATURE” of the persons in “POWER” always want to be “DOMENENT,CONTROLING & OPRESSIVE”. This habit will never change untill they have been got “RID” of.

    I await to see this happen in my life time. But I doubt it will ever happen. May the Good Lord Buddha bless them, and help them to acheive this “GOAL”.

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