“Narco-Saints,” which drew criticism from the Suriname government for its portrayal of the drug trade in the country, rose to No. 1 on Netflix’s weekly Global Top 10 chart for the most watched shows and films on the platform.
According to Netflix, “Narco-Saints” hit the No. 1 spot among non-English shows with 62.65 million hours viewed from Sept. 12 to 18.
“Narco-Saints” entered the top 10 most viewed titles in 82 countries and regions including being No. 1 in Bahamas, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Trinidad and Tobago, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
Based on a true story, “Narco-Saints” tells the story of entrepreneur Kang In-gu (played by Ja Jung-woo) who joins a secret mission by Korean government agents to capture drug lord Jeon Yo-hwan (played by Hwang Jung-min) in Suriname.
The Korean title of the series “수리남” translates to “Suriname.” The series is based on the true story of Korean drug lord Cho Bong-haeng, who operated in Suriname.
Cho Bong-haeng became wanted for fraud in South Korea in 1994 and fled to Suriname and eventually became a drug dealer of cocaine.
In 2005, he was placed on Interpol’s wanted list. He was arrested in Brazil in 2009 and was extradited to South Korea.
In 2011, Cho Bong-haeng was sentenced by a Korean court to 10 years in prison and a fine of 100 million won (about $71,655).
A report by Korean media outlet Channel A stated that Cho Bong-haeng died in a university hospital in Gwangju, South Korea on April 19, 2016 due to heart failure and hypertension. He was 64 years old.
After “Narco-Saints” was released, the Suriname government threatened to take legal action against its producers for putting the country in a bad light.
The series, which premiered on Netflix on Sept. 9, also stars Park Hae-soo, Jo Woo-jin, Yoo Yeon-seok and Chang Chen.
Suriname’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation of Suriname (BIBIS) earlier said it was looking to take legal action against the producers of the series.
“We will look into the possibilities of taking legal action against the producers,” said Minister Albert Ramdin. He accused “Narco-Saints” of branding Suriname as a narco state.
In addition, Suriname will file a complaint through the Korean ambassador on the basis of bilateral relations with South Korea. Letters of protest will be sent to the producers of “Narco-Saints.”
“Whether the practices presented in the documentary are true or false, it’s about creating a negative perception. The whole world sees these things, so this is not good and we will pay close attention to that,” said Ramdin, according to Suriname’s government website.
Here are the top 10 most watched non-English shows on Netflix from Sept. 12 to 18:
1. Narco-Saints: Season 1 – 62,650,000 (number of hours viewed)
2. Diary of a Gigolo: Season 1 – 34,410,000
3. El Rey, Vicente Fernández: Season 1 – 22,710,000
4. Extraordinary Attorney Woo: Season 1 – 21,970,000
5. Young Lady and Gentleman – 18,490,000
6. High Heat: Season 1 – 16,210,000
7. The Lørenskog Disappearance: Limited Series – 16,040,000
8. Cyberpunk: Edgerunners: Season 1 – 14,880,000
9. Little Women: Season 1 – 12,960,000
10. Alchemy of Souls: Season 1 – 10,890,000
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