Embassy urges Korean residents in Suriname to “pay attention to your safety” amid ‘Narco-Saints’ controversy

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

A safety notice has been issued to Koreans residing in Suriname amid controversy over Netflix’s series, Narco-Saints, which is set in Suriname.

In a statement issued on Tuesday (September 13), the Korean embassy in Venezuela – which also oversees relations with Suriname – advised Koreans residing in the South American country to pay attention to their safety.

“We are assuming that many Korean residents in Suriname are very troubled due to the aftermath of Suriname [the title Narco-Saints is marketed as in Korean promotional materials],” the embassy’s statement reads, per Korea JoongAng Daily.

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

This statement comes a day after reports that the Suriname government is considering plans to pursue legal action against the producers of Narco-Saints and to lodge a diplomatic protest with the South Korean government over Suriname’s portrayal in the Netflix series.

Narco-Saints follows an ordinary entrepreneur who joins a group of undercover secret agents working to capture a Korean drug lord operating in Suriname. Notably, the story depicted in the series was based on real-life events that occurred roughly two decades ago.

“Suriname no longer has the image that emerges in the series or no longer participates in these kinds of practices,” Suriname’s Foreign Minister Albert Ramdin wrote in a statement dated September 12. “Whether the practices presented [in Narco-Saints]… are true or false, it’s creating a negative perception [of Suriname]. The whole world sees these things, so this is not good.”

A report by Reuters notes that an unnamed official at Seoul’s foreign ministry said that the South Korean government has yet to receive a formal statement from the Suriname government on the matter. The report adds that Netflix has no plans on issuing any comments regarding the issue.

Since premiering last Friday (September 9), Narco-Saints has landed on the fifth spot on Netflix’s list of top non-English TV shows (for the week of September 5-11), topping the South Korean chart.

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