The citizens from the capital Pyongyang were executed on charges of treason for attempting to leak the contents of the directory to the outside world
As a matter of policy, North Korea’s phonebook is considered a secret document and the people of the secretive enclave were expected to know. The directory contains the phone numbers of factories and companies, managers, party chairmen and other high-ranking officials and office numbers. It can sell for up around £5,700 in China.
The seriousness of the offence and the punishment that followed are thought to be connected to the fact that the crime was committed in Pyongyang, the “Revolutionary Capital” where the country’s most loyal subjects supposedly reside.
The families of the six executed individuals were reported to have therefore been deported to the Hwanghae Province area.