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[Drama 2022] NARCO-SAINTS | Suriname, 수리남 [NETFLIX]


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#NarcoSaints #HaJungwoo #HwangJungmin

[ENG SUB] How well does the cast of Narco-Saints know each other?


Join the cast of NARCO-SAINTS as they get into the nitty-gritty of their show! From fashion choices to secret signals and even a surprise language test, find out who pays the most attention to their costars—and who’s going to have to channel their inner K-pop idol?


Watch NARCO-SAINTS on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/81343748

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Narco Saints Netflix | The Real Life Story of the Korean Drug Lord of Suriname | History Recaps


Everything about History and more.
Serial Killers | Murder Cases | History Events | Conspiracy Theories
He lived in Suriname from the late '90s to the early 2000s, running a large drug trafficking organization, and was arrested in 2009 for coordinating operations with the NIS, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Brazilian police. In 2011, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 100 million fines. 
The Drug King of the Republic of Korea
Cho Bong-hang was originally a ship refrigerator in the 1980s. 
At the time, he lived in Suriname for about 8 years and was bright on the local situation


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I binge-watched this last night forgoing sleep - it's been a while since I did that - and it was great! So much fun, so suspenseful and interesting. What a crazy story.


I don't even particularly like this genre - the violent crime thriller. But it was good. The story was absolutely bonkers, in a good way, and the actors were all top-notch.

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New Event :issohappy:


All Things Fall! Bonus: Vote for the most anticipated upcoming dramas   :coolshades:


Chingus! We are back with a new event! It's about all things autumn. Moreover, we got lots of polls for you! Do check it out and let us know your thoughts about your about autumn. :yay:


News Flash • East Amwell Township, NJ • CivicEngage


Re: Your friendly neighbourhood EO Team


@confusedheart @partyon @Sleepy Owl and @agenth





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Neflix 'Narco-Saints' ranks No.8 two days after release

YonhapNews / 2022-09-12 16:24:11
(This article is translated from Korean to English by Jiwon Woo.)


▲This photo, provided by Netflix, shows Narco-saints. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

▲This photo, provided by Flix Patrol, shows TV show rankings. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


SEOUL, Sept. 12 (Yonhap) -- Netflix's new original series "Narco-Saints" rose to eighth in the global rankings just two days after its release.


According to an online ranking site Flix Patrol on Monday, The series ranked eighth in the Netflix TV program category as of the previous day. It has been two days since the episodes were released on Sept. 9.

It topped in four countries: Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Vietnam.

It ranked second in Malaysia and third in the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Taiwan and Thailand.

The series also placed seventh in the United States, ninth in Canada, and 10th in Australia.

The series tells the story of a ordinary entrepreneur who cooperates in the secret operation of the National Intelligence Service to arrest a Korean drug lord who has taken over the South American country. Actors such as Ha Jung-woo, Hwang Jung-min, Park Hae-soo, and Jo Woo-jin star.

Although it is a highly anticipated film released by Netflix during the Chuseok holiday, it did not meet the world-wide popularity of "Money Heist: Korea -Joint Economic Area," which was released in last June.

"Money Heist: Korea -Joint Economic Area" ranked 3rd in the world within one day of its release and topped in 5 countries.  But "Money Heist: Korea -Joint Economic Area" was already receiving worldwide attention as the remake of a Spanish drama and "Narco-saints" is likely to rank higher over time.

Flix Patrol ranks and totals rankings by country based on the TOP 10 rankings provided by Netflix.

KBS drama "Young Lady and Gentleman," which ended in last March, ranked sixth, and ENA drama "Extraordinary Attorney Woo" ninth, and the tvN drama "Alchemy of Souls" 10th. (END)

(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved



Another Korean Series Makes Netflix Top 10

By Lee Tae-hoon | September 13, 2022 12:54


Korean series "Narco-Saints" ranked eighth on Netflix's global charts on Monday, according to FlixPatrol, which provides streaming rankings worldwide.

It is Netflix's biggest-budget Korean series at W35 billion in production costs, W10 billion more than mega hit "Squid Game" (US$1=W1,384).

Starring veteran actors Ha Jung-woo and Hwang Jung-min, it topped Netflix's TV show chart in Korea on Sunday and placed eighth globally a day after its release on Friday in time for Korea's biggest holiday Chuseok.

It is director Yoon Jong-bin's first drama series after hit films like "Nameless Gangster: Rules of Time" and "The Spy Gone North."

The six-episode series revolves around a man who joins a secret mission to capture a Korean drug lord operating in the South American country of Suriname.

Most of Yoon's work features strong male leads, and the onscreen chemistry between Ha and Hwang seems to have engrossed viewers.

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Global Top 10 [ SEPTEMBER 5 - SEPTEMBER 11, 2022 ]

Weekly Top 10 list of most-watched TV (Non-English)






Top 10 in TV in 13 countries on Netflix
IN THE AMERICAS: Bahamas•Guadeloupe•Jamaica•Martinique
IN ASIA: Hong Kong•Indonesia•Malaysia•Singapore•#1 South Korea•Taiwan•

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Suriname's foreign minister says country will take legal action against producers over unfair portrayal

BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [yim.seunghye@joongang.co.kr] | September 14, 2022



A scene in Netflix's “Narco-Saints,” featuring actors Ha Jung-woo, left, and Hwang Jung-min, right. [NETFLIX]

Korea's hit Netflix series “Narco-Saints” has caused a stir in Suriname, a country located on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America, next to Brazil.

According to an article in the Suriname Herald published on Sept. 13, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation Albert Ramdin said during a press briefing on Sept. 12 that he will take legal action against the producers of Korea's Netflix series that is depicting Suriname as a corrupt country associated with cocaine.

The minister is quoted as saying that Suriname has made so much effort to distance itself from such negative images and “is no longer a country associated with drugs.”

“However, the country is on the verge of a crisis of being tainted again with the image due to Netflix’s recent series. I am going to make contact with Korea regarding the issue,” the minister said.

The report said that the minister plans to reach out to the U.S Embassy in Korea as there is no Korean embassy in Suriname.

The South American nation became familiar to most Koreans only after being featured in the Netflix series “Narco-Saints,” which is titled “Suriname” in Korean.

The series revolves around a drug lord active in Suriname and undercover secret agents working to capture him. It’s adapted from true events about a Korean drug lord named Cho Bong-haeng who operated a massive trafficking organization in Suriname between the late 1990s and early 2000s.

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Overseas Koreans told to take care after Suriname's threat of legal action against Netflix series

BY HALEY YANG [yang.hyunjoo@joongang.co.kr] | September 15, 2022

A scene from the new Neflix Korea series "Narco-Saints" [NETFLIX]

After the South American country of Suriname announced it will take legal action against the hit Netflix Korea series “Narco-Saints” for depicting it as a drug-ridden nation, the Korean embassy warned local Korean residents to pay special attention to their safety. 

The Korean embassy in Venezuela posted an official statement titled “Safety Notice for the Korean community in Suriname” on its website Tuesday.   

“We are assuming that many Korean residents in Suriname are very troubled due to the aftermath of ‘Suriname,’” the statement reads. “Please pay attention to your safety, and if there are any concerns or need for help, please notify us through the local president of the Korean community immediately.” 

“The embassy has the safety of Koreans as our first concern and will do our best for your security,” it added.


The Korean embassy in Venezuela posted an official statement titled “Safety Notice for the Korean community in Suriname” on its website Tuesday. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

Korea and Suriname established diplomatic relations in 1975. The Korean embassy in Venezuela also covers Suriname. 

On Monday, the Surinamese government officially objected to the Neflix show’s portrayal of the country and announced it would take legal action. According to an article in the Suriname Herald published on Sept. 13, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation Albert Ramdin said during a press briefing on Sept. 12 that he will take legal action against the producers of Korea's Netflix series that is depicting Suriname as a corrupt country associated with cocaine.   

The minister is quoted as saying that Suriname has made so much effort to distance itself from such negative images and “is no longer a country associated with drugs.” 

“However, the country is on the verge of a crisis of being tainted again with the image due to Netflix’s recent series. I am going to make contact with Korea regarding the issue,” the minister said.   

The report said that the minister plans to reach out to the U.S Embassy in Korea as there is no Korean embassy in Suriname. 


A scene from the new Neflix Korea series "Narco-Saints" [NETFLIX]

The South American nation, located on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America next to Brazil, became familiar to most Koreans after being featured in the Netflix series “Narco-Saints.” The show’s original title in Korean is “Suriname.”   

The series revolves around a drug lord active in Suriname and undercover secret agents working to capture him. It’s adapted from true events related to a Korean drug lord named Cho Bong-haeng who operated a massive trafficking organization in Suriname between the late 1990s and early 2000s.   

Five days after launching on Sept. 9, “Suriname” is currently the third most-watched on Top TV shows on Netflix, according to data analysis company FlixPatrol as of Thursday.

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[Herald Interview] Ha Jung-woo breaks silence after two-year break with ‘Narcos-Saints’

Top movie star apologizes for illegal use of propofol in 2019, determined to focus on acting career

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com) | Sept 15, 2022

Ha Jung-woo (Netflix)

After meeting with a group of local reporters at a cafe in Samcheong-dong, central Seoul, actor Ha Jung-woo, 44, wished to deliver an apology for violating the Narcotics Control Act and his illegal use of propofol in 2019.

Though the court decided Ha does not seem to have a dependence on the drug or have visited the local hospital only to receive propofol injections, it said in a ruling in September 2021 that the actor colluded with his doctor to fabricate his medical records to cover up illicit drug use.

“I felt that I only had one option at the moment. And that was to listen to the criticisms and read the news about my actions. I thought it was not the right time to make an explanation,” Ha said before the interview on Tuesday.

“I was fully responsible for my misbehavior. I spent a lot of time reflecting on myself and felt that I had a loose standard for my actions. I sincerely apologize to the many people who have been disappointed. I will focus all my attention on my work and develop as an actor,” Ha added.

The actor then shared a mixed bag of emotions on viewers’ opinions and thoughts about his latest series now streaming on Netflix, “Narco-Saints.”

“I was, of course, grateful for various feedback and criticism. But I was a little upset when viewers perceived my acting completely different from the original intention,” the 44-year-old actor said.

Ha explained that his character Kang In-gu is someone who tries to remain calm and deceive others with a relaxed composure. But he recognized that many people felt unsatisfied by Kang for dropping the tension in the series.

When asked about performing in English, Ha said that getting used to the English lines took him several months.

“I already had the experience to act in English in an action film ‘Take Point’ (2018), so it was not new. Though Kang did not have a proper English education, he naturally learned English by working in a car shop near the US military base in South Korea,” Ha told The Korea Herald.

The actor added that director Yoon Jong-bin did not want Kang’s English to be sophisticated. He said if anyone could understand what Kang was saying, that was more than enough.

“But English is not my first language, so finding the appropriate tone, pronunciation and ways to let the foreign language be absorbed in my acting was very challenging,” the actor said, hoping both local and global viewers were comfortable with his performance in “Narco-Saints.”

Ha Jung-woo plays Kang In-gu, a middle-aged businessman who unexpectedly gets involved in the drug business in "Narco-Saints." (Netflix)

Ha also shared his experience of meeting the real Kang In-gu. The series is based on the true story of South Korean drug lord Cho Bong-haeng, who smuggled cocaine from South America to Europe using Koreans as carriers.

“I only met him once, but I understood the reason Pastor Jeon (the character based on Cho Bong-haeng) would trust this man (Kang). He was a man with a strong body as well. He lives an ordinary life in Korea,” Ha said.

Though he was satisfied with the six-part series, Ha felt that presenting more of Kang’s active role in the gang might have been useful to convince viewers of Pastor Jeon’s trust and belief in Kang.

“I also wanted Kang to receive the appropriate reward for his dedication,” Ha added.

The six-part crime series ranked third as of Wednesday on the global Netflix chart, according to US-based streaming analytics firm FlixPatrol.

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Surinames taking four-cut photos


[ NetflixKR + netflixkr  + theswoonnetflix ]  



[ theswoonnetflix ] Giveaway alert! A signed photo of the NARCO-SAINTS cast is up for grabs.  Just comment on this post with your answer to the following prompt:

- Convince a stranger to watch NARCO-SAINTS in 20 words or less

Be creatively persuasive, and you just might find yourself with a photo of these guys in your pocket!

*This giveaway is open internationally and is not affiliated with Instagram. Contest ends on Sept 16, 12 PM KST. Winners will be contacted privately via DMs and participants below the age of 18 require parental consent.


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Ha Jung-woo 'Unrealistic character only available in the movies ..hoping to be invited to Emmys 2023'

YonhapNews / 2022-09-15 14:47:55
(This article is translated from Korean to English by Dowon Kim.)









▲These photos, provided by Netflix, Inc. on Sept. 15, 2022, show South Korean actor Ha Jung-woo, who starred in the six-episode Korean-language Netflix original "Narco-Saints." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

SEOUL, September 15 (Yonhap) -- Kang In-gu (played by Ha Jung-woo), a business man, is a very common and unrealistic character at the same time, who somehow ends up working with the NIS in an operation to capture a Korean drug dealer acting like a pastor in Suriname, a South American country.

In an interview on September 13 at a cafe in Jongno-gu, Seoul, actor Ha Jung-woo, who played Kang In-gu in the new Netflix Original series "Narco-Saints," said that the character he played is unrealistic but is someone who brings out the tension in the show. 

Kang In-gu is a father who worries about his children's studies and their housing lease, but he perfectly deceives Jeon Yo-hwan (played by Hwang Jung-min), the drug dealer, right in front of his eyes, and wins over fights with Jeon Yo-hwan's side members with his Judo skills he learned during school. 

However, there are opinions saying that the unrealistic character who traveled across to Suriname to export skates to Korea and shows outstanding skills as much as the professional agent lacks reality and immersion.

Ha Jung-woo said, "I also had disagreements about Kang In-gu's impressive abilities," he said, adding, "and I wondered how a normal fisherman could have such skills just by learning Judo."

He continued, "I personally think it's a character only allowed in the movies" and said, "It was chosen to follow the rhythm of the show rather than persuade the character to the audience."

Ha Jung-woo is wrongfully imprisoned in South America after falling for Jeon Yo-hwan's ruse, and he joins the NIS operation in the desperate hope that he will be able to return to his children. There are also opinions from the audience saying that they were heartbroken when Ha Jung-woo pretended to be fine while he was on the phone with his family.

He said, "The part when Kang In-gu was on the phone, telling his wife that she should never take out the house rent and worrying about his children's homework even when he was imprisoned in a faraway land, gained sympathy from the audience."

The show "Narco-Saints" added dramatic elements such as fictional characters and incidents based on the true story of a criminal who ran a large-scale drug trafficking organization in Suriname, South America, from the 1990s to the early 2000s.

Ha Jung-woo chose the unique characters of this show as the fun point of the show, which he had never seen in famous non-Korean series dealing with drugs.

He mentioned Jeon Yo-hwan, who made his own kingdom as a pastor of a pseudo-religion, and said, "The interesting setting of the story was how these outdated Koreans traveled to South America and were doing drug business and evil deeds.


He continued, "The fact that Asians became the masters in the Latin American drug market, which is a kind of a "family business," and Korean settings such as a Korean pastor and a skate business, seemed to be a unique viewing point for viewers all around the world."

He laughed while mentioning the Emmy Awards, which was held on the day of the interview and said, "I wonder what it would feel like if we could get an award for "Narco-Saints" next year."

Ha Jung-woo said that the shooting scene of the show "Narco-Saints," which deals with drug organizations, was different from other shows. In particular, the prison scene was filmed in an actual prison in the Dominican Republic, and 200 exemplary prisoners, actually imprisoned, participated in the scene.

He said, "When Kang In-gu was being imprisoned, there was a scene where the prisoners over the barbed wire on both sides shouted and cheered, and it was really tense." He added, "it was hard to walk for more than 10m near, and even to look to the sides."

Ha Jung-woo finally came back with the show "Narco-Saints" after going through a hard time from the illegal use of propofol. He was sentenced to a fine in September of last year for this incident.

Ha Jung-woo said, "I apologize to everyone who felt disappointment" and added, "I spent time regretting and looking back as a person, Kim Seong-hoon (Ha Jung-woo's real name), not an actor, as Ha Jung-woo, the first time after my debut. I caused harm to many people. " (END)

(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved

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Director of 'Narco-Saints' tries to strike balance between true, fictional stories

By Kim Boram (brk@yna.co.kr) | September 15, 2022

This photo, provided by Netflix, shows director Yoon Jong-bin of "Narco-Saints." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)






These images, provided by Netflix, show scenes in "Narco-Saints." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Sept. 15 (Yonhap) -- Yoon Jong-bin is one of the most bankable filmmakers in South Korea with several box-office hits under his belt like the crime drama "Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time" (2012), the period action thriller "Kundo: Age of Rampant" (2014) and the spy thriller "The Spy Gone North" (2018).

His works are well-known for the director-writer's skills to narrate formulaic and corny stories in a more thrilling and enthralling way by creating three-dimensional characters.

In the new Netflix original "Narco-Saints," his first ever small-screen project, the 42-year-old director exerted his ingenuity in storytelling and character building.

Based on a true story in the early 2000s, the show follows an ordinary businessman named Kang In-gu (Ha Jung-woo), who is forced to join a secret mission tasked by the National Intelligence Service while being involved in a drug-related plot concocted by Jeon Yo-hwan (Hwang Jung-min), a Korean drug lord in Suriname disguised as a Christian pastor.

"I was so impressed by the real story and the businessman who worked undercover to catch the drug kingpin in a Latin American country," Yoon said during a media interview Thursday. "I thought I needed enough time to create In-gu's character from the beginning in order to explain why this normal guy decides to take the undercover mission."

The six-part series starts with a summary of In-gu's entire life, struggling to survive in poverty after losing his parents at an early age and supporting two young siblings. His hardship continues and even increases after he gets married and has two children.

His live-or-die effort to earn money and become richer leads him to do business in Suriname, a distant and little-known country in South America.

Yoon said the introductory explanation on In-gu in "Narco-Saints" aimed at portraying In-gu's strong endurance and determination and giving a plausible account of his choice. The director did not include many twists in order to follow the true story of the real-life businessman whose name has been withheld.

"When I first heard this story, I thought it didn't make any sense. I couldn't believe an untrained citizen did this dangerous operation," he said. "But when I met him for an interview, I just got it. He looked so strong and powerful that he could do anything in Suriname to survive."

But he said he has changed the character of the villain to a large extent to make the entire story more dramatic and exciting. He made Yo-hwan a pastor, who wins unconditional public confidence, to weave a complex story of In-gu asking for help from Yo-hwan after getting into trouble.

"In the real story, the two were just business partners. I couldn't understand why the businessman relied on the drug lord from the beginning," he said. "For a TV series, I needed to make their first encounter more dramatic and plausible and create some fictional events to push In-gu into a corner where he had to make an unprecedented revenge."

Since its official release last Friday, "Narco-Saints" has been gaining popularity in and out of the country.

It debuted at No. 5 on Netflix's weekly viewership chart for non-English TV shows, while it placed third on the daily top TV show table for Wednesday compiled by streaming analytics firm Flixpatrol.

Yoon, who made his first feature, "The Unforgiven," in 2004, said he was surprised with the larger-than-expected impact of the global online streaming platform.

"I'm pleased that lots of people have seen my work. Nearly all of my friends around me have seen it. The response has been much faster than that of films," he said. "I've received the most phone calls for the TV show than any other project since I made my directorial debut." (END)



‘Narco-Saints’ Creator Talks About Meeting the Real Informant Who Inspired the Story

Credit: Netflix

In an interview with News1, Narco-Saints creator Yoon Jong Bin talked about meeting the real informant that inspired the story.

Narco-Saints follows a civilian businessman involved in the National Intelligence Service’s covert operation to bring down a Korean drug lord in Suriname. The show has been garnering explosive reactions from many global viewers since its release.

When asked if he actually met the real-life informant who inspired the story of Kang In Gu (played by Ha Jung Woo), Director Yoon answered, “I have met him in person three times. He was like a soldier and seemed like he could survive in the wild just fine. When I first heard his audio recordings, I instantly thought, ‘He must have been crazy to take such a risk for three years.’ But I came to understand why and how he did it as soon as I met him. I thought the story might turn out too rigid if I based the character on the real figure. So I made an original character off of him to make the story more enjoyable and fun.”

The director also explained why Jeon Yo Han (Hwang Jung Min) was depicted as a cult leader. He said: “That’s probably the one I tweaked the most from the original story. The real informant went to Suriname alone and lived under the same roof as the drug lord. He said he thought the trafficker was just a successful businessman until he knew who he really was. As much as it was mind-blowing, I thought it wouldn’t make perfect sense to viewers, so I came up with ways to make the story more plausible and appealing. After giving it much thought, I decided to portray Yo Han as a pastor who naturally earns the trust of people.”

When asked if he had ever heard anything about the real drug lord, he replied, “I asked the National Intelligence Service and the police for help but I haven’t heard anything from them.”

Source (1)

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[INTERVIEW] 'Narco-Saints' lead actor and director boast years-long friendship


Yoon makes directorial debut for series with longtime friend Ha

By Lee Gyu-lee | 2022-09-16 

Actor Ha Jung-woo plays the role of a businessman involved in a drug crime investigation in the Netflix new original series, "Narco-Saints." Courtesy of Netflix

Actor Ha Jung-woo and director Yoon Jong-bin, who went to the same school, have had quite a long-term relationship both professionally and personally, getting their careers off the ground together with the film "The Unforgiven." 

Picking up their partnership as actor and director since the period film "Kundo: Age of the Rampant" (2014), the two have reunited for Netflix's new original series "Narco-Saints."

"There's no other director who had filmed me more than director Yoon. He knows my strengths and weaknesses. So he knows what would come out as convincing (in acting) and what wouldn't. It's like he has a user's manual of me," Ha said in an interview with The Korea Times, held at a cafe in Jongno-gu, Seoul, Tuesday. 

Director Yoon Jong-bin of the series "Narco-Saints" / Courtesy of Netflix

Inspired by a true story, the action crime series, which was released on Sept. 9, revolves around entrepreneur Kang In-gu (Ha), who travels to the South American country, Suriname. He starts a fish trading business, dreaming of achieving success for his family back in Korea. However, his plans soon take an unexpected turn when he meets a Korean priest, Jeon Yo-hwan (Hwang Jung-min), who secretly uses In-gu's business to smuggle drugs to Korea.

After finding out that Yo-hwan is actually a Korean drug lord, In-gu becomes part of a secret government mission to take him down with agent Choi Chang-ho (Park Hae-soo).

Yoon said he initially declined to direct the series, which originally was offered to be made as a film. 

"(The real-life story) interested me. But I just had finished the crime film 'Nameless Gangster,' and after I finished filming 'The Spy Gone North,' Ha brought (the series) up again … and people were telling me that 'this is the story that you are best at,'" he said. "I felt that this is the type of genre that the audiences want from me and that was the start of it."

A still from the series "Narco-Saints" / Courtesy of Netflix

The series picks up parts of the real-life story of Suriname's Korean drug lord, surnamed Cho, who was apprehended in 2009, and his former roommate, a civilian who helped carry out the operation to arrest the kingpin.

The director shared that he felt the story deserved more than a two-hour film and decided to make it into a series. This is Yoon's directorial debut for a series.

Ha, who joined the series in the early stage of development, faced one of the biggest scandals of his career in 2020 when he was investigated for drug abuse. He was convicted of illegally using propofol ― a sleep-inducing drug ― for non-medical purposes and was fined last year.

Saying that he wanted to express his apology during the interview with reporters, Ha said that he took time to reflect on himself after facing the charges. 

"I just walked a lot (during the time) and had a chance to look back on my life as an actor; not just with that situation but also about other faults that I've come across," he said.

"I came to think a lot about fundamental things like how I should live as an actor and move forward, and what mindset I should have. I used to think that I should just focus on what's ahead, but it taught me that it's not always the answer." 

The actor said that he tried to bury himself in work to take his mind away from the circumstances that he was in. 

"I just tried to stay more focused and tried to forget about the situation I was in. And that brought up the feelings I felt when I started acting and I found the things that I was missing," he said. "When I stood in front of the camera on the set, it felt like I was getting a breath of fresh air and I could breathe."

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'Narco-Saints' tests Korea's diplomatic ties with Suriname


Korean Embassy in Venezuela issues safety warning to Korean residents of Suriname

By Lee Hae-rin | 2022-09-15

A scene from Netflix series "Narco-Saints" / Courtesy of Netflix

The hit Netflix series, "Narco-Saints," has become a point of contention for Korea's diplomatic relations with the South American country of Suriname. The government of Suriname has threatened to take legal action against the series producers for what it has called a misleading portrayal of the country. It has also said it will send a letter of protest to the U.S. ambassador in Suriname over Netflix's support of the series. 

The 6-part Netflix original series released on Sept. 9 resolves around a civilian informant who collaborates with Korea's National Intelligence Service to capture a Korean drug lord operating in the South American country. It is based on a true story of Korean drug dealer Cho Bong-haeng, who operated a massive trafficking organization there two decades ago and was arrested in 2011.

Suriname complained that the series' negative portrayal of the country as a drug trafficking hub is unfair and puts the country at a disadvantage.

"Suriname no longer has the image that emerges in the series or no longer participates in these kinds of practices," Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation (BIBIS) Albert Ramdin said in a statement released on the government's website, Monday.

In the statement, the minister acknowledged that "the aspect of free speech must be taken into account" but "it's about creating a negative perception" about the South American country. He said that "the whole world sees these things, so this is not good," noting that the country has been working on eradicating criminal practices portrayed in the series for decades.

Ramdin said that he will consider taking legal action against the series' producers for alleged defamation as well as make a diplomatic protest to the Korean government through the ambassador.

Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it "has not received any official complaint from Suriname since the series has been aired," noting that it is "trying to maintain friendly relations" with the South American country.

The Korean Embassy in Venezuela, which is also responsible for relations with Suriname, issued a safety warning to Koreans livening in Suriname on its website.

"We understand that the Korean community in Suriname is embarrassed because of the possible fallout of the Netflix series, 'Narco-Saints.' We, the embassy staff, are deeply concerned about the safety of Koreans and will do our utmost to keep you safe," the statement posted on its website reads. 

"Please be aware at all times … Should anyone have any issue that causes concern or require help, please contact us via the president of the Korean community in the region," the statement reads.

Korea and Suriname established diplomatic relations in 1975 after the South American country gained independence from the Netherlands. The Korean Embassy in Suriname withdrew from the country in 1993 and handed over relevant duties to the embassy in Venezuela.

According to the streaming analytics platform FlixPatrol, Thursday, "Narco-Saints" ranked number 3 globally among Netflix's TV series. It is the most watched Netflix show in eight regions including Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam, while hitting the 5th most popular series in the U.S.

During the press conference on Thursday, the series director, Yoon Jong-bin, was asked to comment on the complaints of the Suriname government but he declined. Netflix has not made any official statement but is "preparing to make an announcement."



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TOP 10 on Netflix in the World


The most popular movies and TV shows on Netflix in the World. Who was #1 on Netflix on {specific date}?



3. Narco-Saints | 570 | +3% | 86 | 7 | 1 | 570 | 2,687

  • #1 in 18 countries: Bahamas, Bangladesh, Hong-Kong, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Morocco, Pakistan, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam



3. | Narco-Saints | 556 | +3% | 83 | 7 | 1 | 556 | 2,117

  • #1 in 18 countries: Bahamas, Bangladesh, Hong-Kong, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Morocco, Pakistan, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam


SEP 10 ~ SEP 16


[SEP 10] #1 in 1 country: South Korea
[SEP 11] #1 in 4 countries: Hong-Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam
[SEP 12] #1 in 7 countries: Hong-Kong, Kenya, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam
[SEP 13] #1 in 8 countries: Bahamas, Hong-Kong, Kenya, Morocco, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam
[SEP 14] #1 in 14 countries: Bahamas, Bangladesh, Hong-Kong, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Vietnam
[SEP 15] #1 in 18 countries: Bahamas, Bangladesh, Hong-Kong, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Morocco, Pakistan, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam

[SEP 16] #1 in 18 countries: Bahamas, Bangladesh, Hong-Kong, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Morocco, Pakistan, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam


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[ENG] Nation Great Actors HaJungwoo HwangJungmin Park Haesoo Jo Woojin YooYeonseok’s Netflix Recommendations |  Suriname |  Netflix

#NarcoSaints #HaJungwoo #HwangJungmin 
[ENG] STORYTIME: How I went from prison to becoming a secret agent?! | Narco-Saints (HUMOR)

From fishy business to secret agents and pastors who aren’t really pastors… Buckle up because it’s storytime with Ha Jung-woo and boy, does he have a crazy tale to tell! Here’s the everything you need to know before checking out NARCO-SAINTS on Netflix

Watch NARCO-SAINTS on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/81343748

Subscribe to The Swoon: https://bit.ly/2IiIXqV

Follow The Swoon on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theswoonnetflix/

#NarcoSaints #HaJungwoo #HwangJungmin #ParkHaesoo #JoWoojin #YooYeonseok #TheSwoon #Kdrama

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#튀르키예즈온더블럭 #튀르키예즈 #13화 
[ENG] We want 100M subscribers... Please help us, Jung Woo and Jung Min | Turkiyes on the Block EP. 13



Is ‘Narco-Saints’ a True Story? Everything You Need to Know About the Real Incident + Updates

By EUNGEE JOH | images: Netflix



Netflix’s Narco-Saints is on the rise with its surprising plot based on true events. The series is inspired by the life events of a real drug lord named Jo Bong Haeng who was renamed Jeon Yo Hwan and played by Hwang Jung Min on the show.

Jo is said to have created a channel of drug smuggling and supply in the 1990s while he was in Suriname. He was arrested in 2009 in a joint investigation by South Korea, Brazil and the United States.




According to reports, he worked as a ship refrigeration engineer in the 1980s and lived in Suriname for about eight years. While not much is known about his early life, he fled South Korea in 1994 after he was placed on a wanted list on fraud charges. He acquired Surinamese citizenship in 1995 and established a fish processing plant. However, as his income decreased, he set up a drug trafficking network in Suriname in cahoots with Latin America’s largest drug cartel, Cali Cartel.

Jo hired several Korean people, including house workers, college students and unemployed people, to serve as carriers to smuggle drugs disguised as gemstones. His business grew quickly and was placed on Interpol’s watch list in 2005. Law enforcement authorities planned to arrest him in 2007 and approached one of his victims for cooperation. The victim, hereby referred to as informant K, agreed to cooperate and was tasked to infiltrate the cartel as a drug dealer.




Informant K reportedly lived under the same roof as Jo’s men, and his identity was almost exposed by one of his subordinates. According to the reports back then, he was able to survive the crisis by acting quickly and screaming out loud.

When asked if he had any regrets, K reportedly said, “When I promised to cooperate with the NIS in Surinam, I thought of my wife and children a lot. I regretted thinking about what would happen to my family if I didn’t return alive. But I went with the plan anyways as I had already come too far to go back.”

Jo made a drug deal in Sao Paulo in July of 2009 with a non-existing drug buyer planted by the NIS and was arrested by law enforcement authorities in Brazil. He was deported to South Korea and was indicted on charges of smuggling cocaine from South America into Europe using South Korean citizens as drug mules.

Jo was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a fine of 100 million won in 2011. His location is unknown as he is said to have returned to Suriname after being released from prison.

UPDATE: Drug lord Jo Bong Haeng died in South Korea 6 years ago

According to a news report on September 17th, Jo is revealed to have died at the age of 64 six years ago at a university hospital in Gwangju. “Jo died on April 19th, 2016,” said Do Chun Sung, head of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, who was in charge of the case at the time. The cause of his death was heart failure due to high blood pressure.

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[Herald Interview] True story ‘Narco-Saints’ is based on almost unreal, director says


Director Yoon Jong-bin modified real story of protagonist to make it less dramatic

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com) | Sept 18, 2022

Director Yoon Jong-bin (Netflix)

Hit movie director Yoon Jong-bin, who made his drama debut with Netflix’s thriller crime series “Narco-Saints,” felt that the real-life story of a businessman on whom the series' protagnist, Kang In-gu (played by Ha Jung-woo), is based, was too dramatic and seemed almost made up.

“At first, I personally found it difficult to believe the three-year experience of an ordinary man working with the National Intelligence Service. It’s like a story from a movie,” Yoon said during an interview with reporters at a cafe in Samcheong-dong, central Seoul, Thursday.

“After interviewing him and hearing about his past life, some of my questions were answered. But I wasn’t sure how far I could trust him with his stories," the director added.

Referring to the man as "K," the real-life Kang In-gu, Yoon said that many parts of K’s stories were overly dramatic and had a lot of cinematic cliches that he even had to leave out from “Narco-Saints.”

“K said that he shaved his head and fought with the gangs in Chinatown to get close to the drug dealers after returning to Suriname. This sounded like the stories from Hong Kong action thriller ‘Infernal Affairs’ (2002). It may sound ironic, but I tried to make the series less dramatic," Yoon told The Korea Herald.


Yoon Jong-bin (center) speaks with the cast and crew of "Narco-Saints." (Netflix)

Having made his name with action thrillers, ranging from “The Unforgiven” (2005), “Nameless Gangster: Rule of Time” (2012) to “Kundo: Age of the Rampant” (2014), Yoon is back with flashy gunfights and bloody action scenes. "Narco-Saints" topped the local Netflix chart two days after its release.

When asked about Jeon Yo-hwan (played by Hwang Jung-min), a character based on Cho Bong-haeng, a South Korean drug lord in Suriname, the director said he weighed between making Jeon a pastor or a Korean community leader in Suriname.

“I was looking for a job that can easily earn people’s trust. I felt that the stories would get more exciting if Jeon became a pastor,” the director said, explaining about the fictional character he created for his latest series.

Yoon said one of the most difficult tasks in making the series, which took four years, was coming up with ideas for the opening scenes.

“I got to know for the first time that I had to pitch the ideas for the series’ opening. I initially wanted the scenes to look like case files, but it turned out really bad. I changed many things to get to the finished version,” the director told The Korea Herald.

“It was a fresh experience. But the opening clip gave me a hard time until the very end,” Yoon added.

When asked to respond to the Suriname government's concerns that the film may reinforce a negative image of Suriname, which has been plagued by crime and cross-border illegal activities in recent decades, the director declined to comment.

“‘Narco-Saints’ is a drama based on the true stories of a South Korean drug dealer in Suriname. I did not feel the need to create a fictional country to present the series,” Yoon said, explaining why he had chosen an actual country for the story's setting.

The six-part crime thriller ranked No. 4 as of Saturday on the global Netflix chart, according to US-based streaming analytics firm FlixPatrol.

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[ENG] Behind-the-scenes commentary of actors who are as good as they are acting |  Suriname |  Netflix

^ English subtitles will be updated soon. Please stay tuned!


[ENG] Ha Jung-woo Hwang Jung-min Park Hae-soo Jo Woo-jin Yoo Yeon-seok's TMI Quiz |  Suriname |  Netflix



Behind-the-scenes pictorial of genius Suriname actors |  Suriname |  Netflix


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[Herald Review] ‘Narco-Saints’ enthralls world with gripping story, cast


Fiction based on true events Netflix’s 3rd most watched show worldwide

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com) | Sept 19, 2022

Ha Jung-woo (left) stars as Kang In-gu and Hwang Jung-min as Jeon Yohan in Netflix's "Narco-Saints." (Netflix)

Korean dramas have long had a thing for making viewers chuckle while drawing them into a vortex of suspense, mystery and drama.

Be it romance, legal drama or crime thriller, a good share of K-shows never lose their touch when it comes to humor and bringing out the charming side of its main characters, often banking on brilliant actors to deliver light relief while driving a serious plot.

The latest hit Netflix series “Narco-Saints” (Korean title "Suriname") is no exception.

The show also has the elements of a compelling story -- it’s based on real people and real events, and it’s about an ordinary person somehow doing extraordinary things.

Protagonist Kang In-gu, an auto mechanic by day, a karaoke bar waiter-turned-owner by night and a devoted father, wanted to make more money for his family.

He follows his friend to the other side of the world, to Suriname, to buy skate, which is discarded in the South American country but is a delicacy in Korea.

He finds himself in a Surinamese jail, however, after cocaine is found inside the fish that he ships. A Korean intelligence agent visits him in prison, asking him to work with them to nab the Korean drug lord who put cocaine in his fish. Kang accepts the proposal.

What is most intriguing is how willingly Kang takes risks outside the NIS’ plans to achieve his objectives. As he learns how heinous his target is, he doubles down as if he had been waiting all his life to become a professional undercover agent, demonstrating the calculated audacity of a businessman.

“K,” the real-life civilian on whom Kang is based, was as daring if not more, according to media interviews of the show’s producers and an investigator who was on the actual case.

Kang, played by Ha Jung-woo, one of the best South Korean actors of his generation, is not afraid of getting beaten up by gangs, whether Korean or Chinese.

But in one scene, when the villain’s henchman tries to stop him, the former judoka throws him down on a whim, expressing his irritation, to his target’s amusement.

For Ha Jung-woo fans, it is a joy to watch him play Kang, who plays his role in the operation as smoothly as Ha the actor himself.

His skills aside, Kang epitomizes the typical Korean parent who will do anything for his children’s education.

In the midst of a gripping crime thriller plotline, Kang’s aims -- supporting his family while bringing the devilish pastor-in-disguise to justice -- allow viewers to easily empathize with and even cheer for him. The second motive gradually strengthens, especially after he witnesses that the smuggling ring drugged even children.

Other main characters, also played by Korea’s cream-of-the-crop actors, add to the show’s allure.

Hwang Jung-min, who plays “the pastor,” proves once again that he is one of the best around for playing an evil role. Wearing makeup that makes his skin look filthy and diabolic, he is almost charming when he quips “you’re possessed by satan” to anyone who says anything he doesn’t like.

The real-life criminal figure on which the character is based, Cho Bong-haeng, was sentenced to 10 years in jail in 2011, and died five years later in hospital after he was temporarily released from prison for medical treatment.

Cho, claiming to know the Surinamese president personally, as does the pastor in the film, tricked troubled housewives and students into smuggling cocaine by telling them they would be transporting gemstones. However, he did not pose as a pastor or kill people, according to a former prosecutor who handled the case 11 years ago.

The story of one of the victims, a housewife surnamed Chang, was made into a film --“Way Back Home” -- in 2013.

“Squid Game” star Park Hae-soo plays the NIS agent who elegantly plays his colorful part in the mission. Another highly talented actor, Jo Woo-jin, plays a Chinese gang member who defected to the pastor’s gang to be his right-hand man.

Taiwanese actor Chang Chen plays the ruthless Chinese gang leader who chops off a traitor’s hands and feet, and hangs the corpse at the gate of Chinatown. The rivalry between Korean and Chinese criminal crime rings gives more color to the show.

The show does have its limits, however, owing mostly to its director Yoon Jong-bin’s interests that are all too evident in his filmography -- male-dominant action full of machismo and profanity -- and disregard for female characters. The two or three women with lines in “Narco-Saints” are nothing more than tools in the story.

The show has caused a stir in Suriname, with its foreign minister threatening legal action against the producers last week for depicting Suriname as a corrupt country associated with cocaine.

“Narco-Saints” became the third most watched Netflix show worldwide just five days after its release on Sept. 9, and has maintained that spot since.

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