YANGON, MYANMAR —
Police in Myanmar, also known as Burma, have stepped up a crackdown on pirated versions of the movie "The Interview," sparking speculation the government is bowing to pressure from North Korea.
Some local newspapers report the North Korean Embassy in Yangon pressured Myanmar authorities to stop selling and distributing copies of "The Interview."
Colonel Win Kyi of the Yangon police force said the crackdown, though, has nothing to do with any particular movie.
“No. We confiscate those pirated VCDs [videos] on a daily basis. Myanmar pirated VCDs hurt the Film and Video Association. So we did it in accordance with the laws,” he said.
But a local vendor, who did not want to be named, told VOA's Burmese service that in the past, police only confiscated pirated movies with Burmese subtitles. He said now, all pirated films are being taken, although the crackdown began shortly after "The Interview" went on sale in Yangon.
“The store has been closed since two or three days ago. They confiscated pirated VCDs, particularly of "The Interview" movie, from street vendors,” said the vendor.
North Korea says it is outraged by the "The Interview," an American comedy about the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Burmese service.