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Released globally last week, Narco-Saints is loosely based on real-life events from the early 2000s. The show, titled Suriname in Korea, tells the story of an ordinary entrepreneur who risks his life to join a secret mission to capture a Korean drug lord operating in the Latin American country. The show was created by acclaimed filmmaker Yoon Jong-bin (The Spy Gone North) and stars Ha Jung-woo (Ashfall, Entourage).
But the government of Suriname says Netflix has gone too far in portraying the country as a “narco-state,” with story elements that highlight outdated “crime and cross-border activities” that the people of Suriname have worked hard to expunge.
“Suriname no longer has the image that emerges in the series or no longer participates in these kinds of practices,” the country’s foreign minister Albert Ramdin said in a statement released earlier this week on a government website. “It’s creating a negative perception,” he added. “The whole world sees these things, so this is not good,” he said.
Ramdin said his government was considering a legal response against the producers of Narco-Saints and would lodge a diplomatic protest with South Korea’s government.
According to Reuters, an official at Seoul’s foreign ministry said South Korea has yet to receive a formal statement from Suriname. But the South Korean embassy in Venezuela, which also oversees relations with Suriname, posted a statement Tuesday warning Korean residents in the region to be extra careful of their safety.
“We assume Korean residents in Suriname must be greatly concerned due to the airing of the drama Narcos-Saints. Your safety is our greatest concern, and therefore the embassy will do its best to ensure your safety,” it said.
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