Believe it or not, the drama Signal was inspired by a few famous criminal cases that happened in South Korea and some of them remain unsolved.
Park Choroung Bitnari Kidnapping - Murder
The first episode follows an investigation of a missing elementary school girl who disappeared on her way home. The story was inspired by the famous case of ‘’Park Choroung Bitnari Kidnapping-Murder’’.
In 1997, eight-year-old Park Choroung - Choroung Bitnari (translates as ‘’Park Twinkle-Twinkle Going to Shine’’) went missing on her way home in Jamwon. The kidnapper requested 20 million won (equivalent to roughly 20 thousand dollars) in exchange for the child’s life. However, the police got too close and the kidnapper killed Park Choroung in cold blood. Later, they discovered that the kidnapper was an 8 months pregnant woman who was desperate for money. She remains in prison today, sentenced to life.
The case became really famous back then because it happened in an affluent neighbourhood in Seoul and also because of the long and uncommon name of the child
Hwaseong Serial Murders
The South Gyeonggi investigation case, that happened in episodes 3 and 4, was inspired by the most famous serial killer case in South Korea called the ‘’Hwaseong Serial Murders’’.
In the city of Hwaseong, on September 15, 1986, a body of a young woman was found in a rice field bound with her own clothing. Soon another woman was found dead in the same manner. The police realised that they had a serial killer operating in their area. It was the first case in the history of South Korea and the police weren’t prepared to face a complicated investigation. Overall, 10 bodies were found in over 5 years, spanning the ages of 14 to 71, and all of them were killed in the same way.
The investigation led 2 million police officers to check over 21,000 suspects. A total of 40,000 individuals had their fingerprints taken, 570 DNA samples and 180 hair samples were analysed. The forensic analysis revealed the blood type of the killer as ‘B’, but due to the lack of technology in the late 1980s, it was not possible to identify the killer. This case remains unsolved.
Miryang Gang Rape Case
In one of the last episodes of ‘Signal’, the story follows one rape case that happens in Inju, a fictional city. It was inspired by the famous rape case that happened in Miryang in 2004 called the ‘’Miryang Gang Rape Case’’.
A middle school girl was raped by at least 41 male students several times in the span of 11 months. During these times, she was forced to bring her little sister and her cousin. However, after her aunt had found out and reported to the police, they were blamed for the crime. The parents of the offenders had claimed that the girls had been seducing the boys and the police officers said in their face that they ruined Miryang’s name. After all, the rapists ended up getting a light sentence despite their crime, leaving the Korean population shocked for the insensibility and the lack of justice.
In the drama, the plot line is a bit different and strays a little from the actual story, but it still focuses on the pain of the rape victims and the guilt they felt from the crime.
That's it! Thanks for reading and I’m sorry if I wrote in too much detail about the crimes. I know it can be a little bit disturbing for a few people. If you know any dramas that were inspired by real criminal cases or real facts… please comment bellow.