The South Korean crime thriller series “Narco-Saints” on Netflix is also called “Suriname” and “The Accidental Narco.” It was made by Yoon Jong-bin and Kwon Sung-Hui.
It’s about an ordinary businessman named Kang In-Gu, who goes to the South American country of Suriname to fish for a living. But he gets caught up in a dangerous plan to catch the leader of a dangerous drug cartel. The fascinating series shows how a drug cartel works from the inside. So, viewers must be wondering if the show is based on real events. We were also interested in the same thing, so we looked for the truth. Here is everything we learned about how the idea for “Narco-Saints” came about.
Is Narco-Saints based on real events?
“Narco-Saints” is based on a real story, yes. The show is based on the life of a real drug lord named Jo Bong-Haeing. It was made for TV by Yoon Jong-bin and Kwon Sung-Hui. The drug lord ran his business in Suriname, which is in South America. He sent drugs from South America to Europe by sneaking them onto Korean people. We don’t know much about Jo’s early life, but in 1994, he had to leave South Korea because he was wanted for fraud.
In the 1990s, Jo is said to have set up a way for drug trafficking and supply. Between 2004 and 2005, Jo brought about 48.5 kilograms of cocaine into Europe without being caught. At least 160 billion won, or $140 million, is thought to be in the package. Jo hired a few Koreans to help him smuggle drugs, and he paid them between 4.5 and 5 million won for each trip. In 2009, Jo was taken into custody by the police in Brazil. In 2011, he was sent back to South Korea and charged with smuggling cocaine from South America into Europe by using Koreans as carriers.
In an interview, co-creator Yoon Jong-bin talked about how the idea for the show came about. Yoon said that the real-life drug lord in Suriname was the reason he was first asked to make a movie. But when he realized that it would be hard to tell the story in a two-hour movie, he decided to turn it into a six-part TV show instead. “I thought the story was really interesting when I first heard it. But when I got the script for the movie, there were a lot of things missing, like the things that first caught my attention. Yoon said at a press conference, “It seemed hard to fit the whole story into a two-hour running time.”
At the beginning of the series, it says that the story is based on real events. But then comes a word of caution. It says that the story is based on real events, but that it is heavily dramatized and that the names and details of some characters are made up. For example, Jo Bong-Haeing on the show is called Jeon Yo-hwan.
Also, nobody knows if the real drug lord pretended to be a pastor and ran his drug cartel and drug smuggling operations under the guise of religion. In the same way, there are no reports of a South Korean businessman helping the NICS catch the drug lord by working undercover. Because of this, it is likely that Kang In-character gu’s in the show is made up. Also, the show is like other Netflix crime dramas about drug cartels, like “Narcos” and “Narcos: Mexico,” because it shows different cultures.
The co-creators of “Narco-Saints” and the opening credits say that the show is based on real events. But the story probably has some made-up parts that were added to make it more interesting. Still, the idea of a South Korean businessman going into a dangerous international cartel to kill its leader is based in reality. This is shown through emotional stories and dramatic scenes. So, the careful mix of fiction and reality will both shock and entertain the audience.
Narco-Saints builds on what Narcos started. The crime thriller that brought Pablo Escobar back into the minds of young people.
The first Narcos ran for three seasons, and both Pedro Pascal and Wagner Moura became well-known because of it. There is also Narcos: Mexico, which is a different show. This spin-off tells the story of the Mexican Drug Cartel, and it ended in 2021. Narco-Saints will mostly be in Korean instead of Spanish, which is different from the other serials. Let’s see if it does well enough for there to be a Seasons trilogy as well.
Jo Bong-haeng, whose name was changed on the show to Jeon Yo-hwan, was the leader of the many drug cartels in Suriname. Jo Bong-haeng was in charge of these gangs. Because of his influence, this man has a lot of power in Suriname. Some of the names of the people in the story were changed.
He gets to make a false accusation against a member of the National Intelligence Service.
It was filmed during the Covid 19 Pandemic, when it was impossible to film in Suriname. Instead, it was shot in the Dominican Republic.
Fans of Squid Game will recognize one of the characters. The actor who played Cho Sang-woo, Park Hae-soo, has been cast as Choi Chang-ho, a major character in the story.
Kang In-gu (Ha Jung-woo) is a civilian Korean businessman. He will have to work with the National Intelligence Service against his will because they need a Korean citizen to catch the mastermind. In order to do the job that was given to him, he will have to take a dangerous route. The goal of the mission is to catch the South Korean who runs the drug cartels in South America. On September 9, 2022, Narco-Saints will be available on Netflix.
“Narco-Saints,” which is coming soon to Netflix, will be a fast-paced crime story with a new setting and a fake religious leader.
“I thought the story in the series was very good. A Korean becoming a drug kingpin in a South American country on the northeastern Atlantic coast? Ha Jung-woo, who is back in a drama series after 15 years, said at a press conference Wednesday at Josun Palace in southern Seoul that this would be a great place for a movie.
“When I first heard about the story, I hoped it would be turned into a crime movie or a drama series. Because the story was so interesting, I was able to give out ideas for “Narco-Saints” while I waited for six to seven years,” Ha said.
Based on a true story about a South Korean man in Suriname who used Koreans to smuggle cocaine from South America to Europe, the six-episode series is about a hard-working man named Kang In-gu (Ha) who doesn’t want his children to live in poverty.
Kang starts a new business with a friend in Suriname, a place he has never been before, because he wants to change his life.
Kang is used as a pawn in the international drug trade after he meets Korean pastor Jeon (Hwang Jung-min), who is also a drug king. When Kang is caught by South Korean government agent Choi Chang-ho (Park Hae-soo), a new mind game begins.
The director of the hit crime movies “Nameless Gangster: Rules of Time,” “A Violent Prosecutor,” and “The Spy Gone North,” Yoon Jong-bin, said that he chose “Narco-Saints” as his first drama because two hours wo
uldn’t be enough.
“When I read the script for a 120-minute movie, I saw that a lot of interesting things were left out. I thought it would be hard to make a crime movie, so I started out with a drama instead,” Yoon said.
The director also said that Pastor Jeon was made to help people understand Kang’s situation and feel sympathy for the character.
“When I found out what really happened, Kang was just a person who wanted to help the drug king very much. I didn’t think this made a good case. I thought of a job that would be easy to get people to trust me,” Yoon said. “The answer was a priest.”
Aside from the exciting stories, the director said that getting the best actors to act in the same scene was like a dream come true.
“These actors, especially Taiwanese actor Chang Chen, brought a lot of energy to the scenes,” the director said, adding that he was sure the cast’s great performances would get people’s attention.
“Narco-Saints,” another hit Korean original series from Netflix, is set to come out this Friday, just in time for the Chuseok holiday long weekend.
The thriller crime series is based on a true story about an entrepreneur named Kang In-gu (Ha Jung-woo) who went to Suriname, a small country in South America, to start a fish trading business so he could support his family back in Korea. One day, he meets Jeon Yo-hwan, a Korean priest played by Hwang Jung-min, who helps him out when he is in a fight with the Chinese mafia.
When he is accused of smuggling drugs, In-gu finds out that Yo-hwan is actually the country’s Korean drug lord. He uses his fish business to export drugs. Then, he joins a secret government mission with agent Choi Chang-ho to kill him (Park Hae-soo).
“Narco-Saints” is Yoon Jong-first bin’s time directing a series. He is known for movies like “The Spy Gone North” (2018) and “Kundo: Age of the Rampant” (2014), but this is his first time directing a series. “Narco-Saints” was written by Kwon Sung-hui, whose previous work includes “The Closet,” a horror movie coming out in 2020.
The director said that the drama, which was supposed to be a movie, was turned into a six-part series so that it could tell the story of a real-life Korean drug lord who was caught in Suriname in 2009.
“When I first heard about the story, I thought it was really interesting. But when I got the script for the film, a lot was missing, like the things that first interested me. It seemed hard to tell the whole story in two hours,” he said at a press conference for the series on Wednesday at Josun Palace in Gangnam-gu, Seoul.
With this show, actor Ha is back on TV for the first time since he was fined last year for using propofol for non-medical reasons, which is against the law.
Ha, who has been a part of the project since its early stages, said that he thought the story was interesting enough to turn into a series.