A man has uploaded footage he recorded illegally in North Korea to YouTube, filming himself on the streets of capital city Pyongyang using a GoPro camera.
YouTuber Vexxed uploaded the footage, which features crowds of children playing in Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung Square, to the video-sharing site. Though Vexxed initially claimed that it was the “Worlds First Illegal Live Stream from North Korea [sic]” in the video’s description, he later clarified that it was pre-recorded, though it still offered over 15 minutes of rare footage that tourists are prohibited from capturing by the North Korean government.
The footage features children playing in the Kim Il-sung Square, named after the notoriously isolated country’s founding leader, flying kites while traditional North Korean music plays over speakers in the background. Many are shown curiously watching Vexxed while he records the footage, and he was accompanied by tour guides while filming. Typically tourists of North Korea are only allowed to record limited footage while visiting, with the government not allowing free travel throughout the country and instead providing strict tour guides or, in some reported cases, military assistance. As such, recording footage without permission is highly illegal according to the country’s laws, with those caught doing so potentially facing extreme punishment.
This makes this uninterrupted footage of Pyongyang of particular interest, with it showing what appears to be candid footage of North Korean citizens enjoying themselves — a rare sight considering the ruthless dictatorship that looms over the country, headed up by its leader Kim Jong-un. We spoke to Vexxed about the footage, with the 20-year-old student saying that recording it “was not worth” the fear he felt while documenting his time in the country.
“I was really scared when I was there even though I didn’t show it,” the YouTuber told us. “One night I was filming in the hotel and I wanted to go swimming so I gave my camera to ladies who were to put it in a locker. I noticed they were interested in my camera … so I walked to the changing room, waited 30 seconds and walked back. They were going through my videos. They were watching a video I recorded in a bathroom about having no privacy at all. I managed to get the camera off them. The next morning I find out they contacted the security of the hotel who told my guide and I was told to delete the footage of me in the bathroom.”
He continued: “Later I was told by a foreign guide that the North Korean guides were talking about whether or not I can be trusted not to make anti-DPRK videos … I couldn’t tell them I was a Youtuber because then they might consider me a journalist or something, which I’m not, but in north Korea anything goes.”
Vexxed deleted the footage from his YouTube channel, though it was later reuploaded by another user. Take a look below:
Vexxed, who reportedly visited the country back in January, also uploaded another video in which one of his tour guide’s requests that he deletes photos he had taken of Kim Il-sung Square. It is unclear why they allowed him to continue recording video footage, though it seems unlikely that they were aware he was doing so.
Take a look at that footage below:
We have reached out to Vexxed for further details, and we will update this story if he replies.