Itaewon Burger King Murder to be Movie

April 18th, 2009 · Accidents, Crimes and Scandals, Entertainment, Foreigners · 32 comments

In 1997 two young American men walked into what used to be the Burger King in Itaewon and stabbed to death another young man, Cho Jung-pil, whom they did not know. Each blamed the other and each wound up a free man. Today comes the news that actor Jeong Jin-yeong has been cast in the upcoming movie based on the case.

45-year old actor Jeong Jin-yeong has been cast in the lead role of the upcoming film “The Itaewon Murder” (이태원 살인사건).

“The Itaewon Murder” is a cinematic rendering of the true life “Cho Jun-pil Murder Case” which took place 12 years ago in the Itaewon neighborhood in Seoul. The shocking case, in which the child of a US soldier and a Korean-American randomly killed the university student Cho in a hamburger restaurant in Itaewon in April of 1997, ended without the killer being caught.

The case greatly angered the nation after the two, who each carried American citizenship, were released for lack of evidence.

In the film, Jeong plays the role of the prosecutor charged with the case. Haggard, desperate, angry, but also arrogant, the prosecutor in charge of the Itaewon hamburger shop murder becomes engrossed in the case while struggling to determine the true killer.

“The Itaewon Murder” will see director Hong Gi-seon behind the megaphone. Hong directed the 2003 film “The Road Taken” (선택) based on the life of political prisoner Kim Seon-myeong.

“The Itaewon Murder” was chosen for production last year by the Korean Film Council. Filming will begin when all minor roles have been cast.

32 comments

  • Whoa, an entire can of worms is about to be unleashed.

    First off, I wonder which chinbo “progressive” group (i.e., the anti-US, anti-government, anti-capitalist, anti-Japan, and especially pro-Pyongyang umbrella) has been pushing for this. The murder was tragic for so many reasons, but the description here is self-serving and the murder has been used by the “progressives” in issues unrelated to it (like SOFA) and the notion that Americans related to USFK run around Seoul committing crime with impunity.

    Unlike the article says, the killer was caught. But the police and prosecutors incompetently fingered the wrong one of the two for the actual crime — even though both Korean and USFK investigators were telling them they had gotten it wrong. Both of the suspects served some time in jail during trial and, I believe, for lesser crimes of weapons possession and destruction of evidence, or some such.

    Then — and if this is not in the movie I will protest it myself — when there was another trial for one of them men (on appeal or when they finally figured out they’d been trying the wrong one or something… I’m going by memory on only three hours’ sleep), the authorities couldn’t produce the other one — the likely killer — because he had been released from Korean prison in one of the general amnesties!

    This case was utterly mishandled by several Korean individuals and agencies, who had ignored the quite vocal warnings of other Koreans knowledgeable about the case and the USFK investigators.

    Sigh. They’d better include all of that.

    Ultimately, though, the fault lies with the two men who committed and then covered up this truly brutal crime. That should not be forgotten.

    My heart goes out to Cho and his family, who are probably pained every day by the fact that no justice ever came. Their son’s killer is back in the States talking, laughing, having fun, and getting on with life, with nearly zero fear of being punished for this.

    kushibo · April 18th, 2009 at 3:21 AM

  • I see Byuntees has gotten to you guys as well.

    I would never buy anything from them. I’m fairly certain that the curly haired man in glasses is Kim Jong-il himself and that this is a dollar-earning operation for the despots in Pyongyang.

    kushibo · April 18th, 2009 at 3:23 AM

  • my only hope is they get some actual sympathetic screen-quality actors to play the americans in the film instead of the cookie cutter guys they call up when they need someone to be abusive and weird and foreign.

    additionally, byuntees isn’t nearly as good as babo shirts. my two cents.

    Chris · April 18th, 2009 at 4:07 AM

  • yea i remember that shit….it was fuckt up.the person that got stabbed was a yonsei student.very sad

    immortal technique · April 18th, 2009 at 5:00 AM

  • Byuntees and Babo Shirts are both good.. I like the Retired Burberry Man shirt.

    Korea Beat · April 18th, 2009 at 7:01 AM

  • @ #1: spot on.

    There are so many ways this can go wrong.

    My prediction for the outcome of the film will be:

    1. Increase in anti-weigook incidents, rhetoric, news

    2. Law suit from family of the murder victim if the portrayal of his death isn’t tragic enough, if he doesn’t fight back heroically enough.

    3. Lawsuit from Burger King international for using their corporate logo without permission.

    4. More public demands for rewriting the SOFA.

    Billy · April 18th, 2009 at 7:42 AM

  • Funny thing is that I was supposed to work on the production staff of a movie about this called 도도 that was filmed last year. That movie must have turned out quite poorly though because I haven’t heard a thing about it since. It was about the same incident though, so I’m quite curious as to what happened to it now that they’ve announced this will go into production.

    Film Guy · April 18th, 2009 at 8:23 AM

  • Immortal technique wrote:
    the person that got stabbed was a yonsei student.very sad

    Off the top of my head, I think he was a Hongik student, but I’m not entirely sure.

    Billy wrote:
    My prediction for the outcome of the film will be:

    1. Increase in anti-weigook incidents, rhetoric, news

    I’m not so sure that would be an outcome, since the actual incident itself didn’t result in such things. In fact, the reaction by the public was surprisingly low-key, given the sheer brutality of the murder, because it didn’t resonate on issues like problems with SOFA. The two teenagers were processed and tried in a Korean court, which is one of the biggest SOFA-related issues.

    I doubt you would get any more protest than for the 2006 release of Kenneth Markle, a soldier who was sentenced to forty years in prison for the brutal rape and murder of a prostitute but for whom the courts reduced the sentence to fourteen years (I should write a whole post on that and why that happened).

    2. Law suit from family of the murder victim if the portrayal of his death isn’t tragic enough, if he doesn’t fight back heroically enough.

    Y’know, since they lost their son in a brutal murder and everything, I’m going to forego beating them up over something that hasn’t even happened yet, and likely wouldn’t.

    3. Lawsuit from Burger King international for using their corporate logo without permission.

    Then they can have more kids meal commercials like this one.

    BK is messed up and probably evil.

    4. More public demands for rewriting the SOFA.

    I doubt it. See above.

    And even if they do, it won’t be demands of the general public, but rather the usual suspects who demonstrate as a hobby whom the general public wishes would STFU.

    Film Guy wrote:
    Funny thing is that I was supposed to work on the production staff of a movie about this called 도도 that was filmed last year.

    Any way you could get me in touch with them? I’d like to be a consultant.

    Anyway, I’ll just end by saying that, even if this is a chinbo effort, many groups on the Korean side will be depicted as bungling and incompetent. No one will get out of this smelling good.

    kushibo · April 18th, 2009 at 9:55 AM

  • @ film guy: could it be like the case of 7 Days, where they turned over the movie to another team who does it cheaper and quicker? looks like they just passed the lead from one guy to another – both from “King and the Clown”.

    ed · April 18th, 2009 at 10:03 AM

  • I can’t stand moving advertisements on my computer screen. At least you put it at the top of the page so I can quickly scroll past it. Any way you can stop the ad from moving?

    You might want to set up a donation system through PayPal or something if you are trying to get some funds. I’d be willing to donate money to you guys for bringing this news to me. It’s that valuable to me.

    By the way, is the advertisement part of the changes you announced a while back? I really love the simplicity of Korea Beat’s layout and hope you try to retain as much of that as you can while you make changes.

    Keep up the great work!

    Eddie P · April 18th, 2009 at 12:18 PM

  • Given the track record that the Korean film industry has with such real-life crime stories that were infamously mishandled such as in Memories of Murder, The Chaser and 그 놈 목소리 (forgot the English name) this new movie could be very promising. The obvious concern is whether or not they play up the negative American/foreign stereotypes for some cheap thrills.

    baekgom84 · April 18th, 2009 at 2:39 PM

  • Ed-

    Possibly, but star change, director change, and as far as I know they finished shooting that one.

    Looking up the Naver description, only the summary comes up, which seems to have changed from the part of the script I read.

    Could be the movie they made just sucked. In that case, it’ll probably never see the light of day. But maybe another production company liked the idea bought it from them and is giving it another crack.

    Film Guy · April 18th, 2009 at 3:20 PM

  • the st patty’s day murder, now that was a murder.

    hardyandtiny · April 18th, 2009 at 8:58 PM

  • this film will just perpetuate the fears most koreans have about itaewon ~.~

    PETER P · April 19th, 2009 at 3:55 AM

  • Here’s a link to a 2006 discussion at Marmot’s Hole (see the comments section) about both the Burger King killing and the murder of Jamie Penich (the St. Patrick’s Day murder that hardyandtiny mentions).

    The usacrime links that dogbert provides are from one of the chinbo “progressive” groups I mentioned, one of those most vehement about “USFK crime.” Take what they say with a grain of salt.

    What Brendon Carr says about there being no Gil Grissom is right, but USFK’s CID also botched a few things, like witnesses not being able to identify possible suspects without fear of retribution.

    There was an excellent CourtTV (?) production on it (“Murder in Room 103″ or something) but the link is gone.

    kushibo · April 19th, 2009 at 4:47 AM

  • baekgom84 wrote:
    The obvious concern is whether or not they play up the negative American/foreign stereotypes for some cheap thrills.

    Yeah, maybe, but for all the bluster and complaint of “negative American stereotypes,” the reality is often more balanced than that.

    PETER P wrote:
    this film will just perpetuate the fears most koreans have about itaewon ~.~

    Korean fear of Itaewon is so 1990s. In fact, the place is now mostly regarded more as hip or interesting. As far as safety, it’s probably seen as no more so than other Korean night spots these days. It helps that the subway runs right through it and loads of Koreans have experienced it in the daylight.

    When I mentioned to Koreans that my then future ex lived in Itaewon, I would get a variety of neutral or negative responses, but rarely did “dangerous” come up. (Dirty or “she lives there because she can’t speak Korean, right?” were the most common.)

    kushibo · April 19th, 2009 at 5:06 AM

  • There is a much more interesting movie to be made which had a much greater impact on Korea and the United States. Seung-Hui Cho
    murdered thirty-two students at Virginia Tech. I do hope that after our lovely hosts finish the “Burger King Killing” movie, they concentrate on a real story, The VT Massacre.

    TEX · April 19th, 2009 at 9:12 AM

  • Seung-Hui Cho[2]was a student at Virginia Tech who committed the mass murder of 32 people and wounded 25 others in the shooting rampage which has come to be known as the Virginia Tech massacre.Cho committed suicide after law enforcement officers breached the doors of the building where he had killed and injured the majority of his victims.

    TEX · April 19th, 2009 at 9:26 AM

  • So? What’s the connection? The Virgina Tech case really had no impact at all on the two countries’ relationship.

    Korea Beat · April 19th, 2009 at 10:06 AM

  • It didn’t? It had no effect? Remove thyself from thy bubble.

    TEX · April 19th, 2009 at 11:55 AM

  • This is a worthless site, Tex.

    Squeaky · April 19th, 2009 at 11:56 AM

  • I would like to see a Korean treatment of the Cho Seung-hui case.

    Tex, what impact do you feel the Cho massacre had? (Not saying there wasn’t any, just asking your opinion.)

    kushibo · April 19th, 2009 at 1:25 PM

  • Kushibo, take that along with the treatment of blacks by Koreans in America. You don’t think every black knows about this rift? This includes Obama. If Korea knew what was coming down the pike in terms of tariff reforms they would be quaking in their boots. Also, somebody tell Koreabeat not to comment on anything I say. As a person who runs this forum, his/her job is to sit down and keep their mouths shut. Just make sure it is up and running and hopefully providing decent stories which seems to be once in a blue moon.

    Squeaky · April 19th, 2009 at 5:13 PM

  • Squeaky,

    It’s KoreaBeat’s site. As such, one would gather that KoreaBeat can do whatever KoreaBeat wants. Why are you being so hostile towards someone who provides you with a free service?

    Jamie · April 20th, 2009 at 12:33 AM

  • Sweet suffering Jesus on a salty snack cracker. I’m surprised that nothing has been done about this case. I’m indifferent about whether or not it’s made into a movie, whether or not Koreans hate foreigners more because of it, or whether or not more Koreans dislike the American military presence (hey does anyone actually like it?).

    Really, the prosecutors should be ashamed of themselves. Both of the idiots in this case should be rotting in Korean prison awaiting execution.

    I’m running for Mayor of Itaewon-dong. As a long time resident, perfect specimen of human achievement, and the most handsome man north of the river, I submit to you my solution for solving all US Army/Korean Citizen problems in the ROK.

    When elected, I will turn the entire Itaewon district into a ‘green zone’. Armed guards, with a minimum height of 185cm and weight of 80kg will block every street with check points. There will be an immigration inspection unit inside the Itaewon subway station with turn styles, bulletproof glass, and retina scanners.

    US Military personnel, their dependents and/or spouses will not be allowed outside of the green zone, unless accompanied by two south Korean minders at all times, within a structured tour group. Curfew is 6pm. A perimeter wall measuring 21.5 feet high, with 440 grade surgical steel sharpened razor wire and broken glass lining the top will be erected around the entire Itaewon district.

    All entry points will be guarded by Gyopo Korean Army soldiers with automatic weapons and hair trigger tempers. Normal Korean citizens wishing to enter Itaewon will be required to register for special green zone passes, which will be made of titanium, and have holographic stickers to be read by optical scanners at each point of entry. The green zone pass will cost 1.2million won, and will be valid for one year. Applicants must fill out detailed questionnaires, take STD, drug, and general health tests, and then sign a 13 page waiver, dissolving the US Army, foreign embassy workers, diplomats, Korean Police, and everyone but themselves of responsibility for what happens once they enter the green zone.

    Special permission will be given to deaf-mute street hawkers who sell hats and crocodile skin Gucci wallets for 10,000won. Special permission will be given to all Korean employees of Itaewon based businesses, but they must still sign the waiver, after all, this is the Wild West baby. Special permission will be given to ladies and ladyboys and gay boys and gay bartenders and Filipina hostesses and juicy girls and freelancers and massage girls who work hooker hill, though STD tests will still be required on a bi-weekly basis.

    Metal detectors will be setup at every check point, and all weapons must be checked with the 185cm tall 80kg hair trigger tempered Gyopo soldiers prior to entering. US Military members and dependents will be free to wander the Itaewon green zone, but will be fitted with national geographic coyote migration tracking devices upon exit from a military base and into the green zone. The tracking collar will track their every move and send the coordinates to Samsung GPS headquarters, and will be recorded in a file. If a crime is committed, the data from the coyote transponder will be released, showing the accused party’s whereabouts at the exact time of any crime they are accused of.

    Wait, why didn’t someone think of this before? I’m not sure, but I’m a thinker, and I think of things like this. Taxi drivers wishing to work the green zone must sign waivers, absolving all potential customers of any responsibility for anything that happens. Wait, who would sign such a waiver? Wait, what kind of dumbass taxi driver would want to work in the green zone? Scratch that, no taxis in the green zone. Transportation is by foot only, or <50cc motorbike.

    The Korean police stationed at Itaewon station will be given special dragon skin bullet proof armor, tazers, FM P-90 sub-machine guns with three 50 round clips, and most importantly intensive language training in English, Arabic, French, and Swahili. A special task force of volunteer police will assist in crimes dealing with foreigners. Volunteer police will be foreigners, with a minimum of 10 years spent in Korea. Volunteer Police must be able to run a mile in under 6 minutes. That is the only other requirement. If you can’t run a mile in under 6 minutes, don’t even bother applying.

    Monday will be “Military Off Limits” day in the green zone. No soldiers or dependents, or family members will be allowed off base or on green zone streets during this time. Normal Korean civilians may apply for one day shopping passes for Mondays only. Those in need of snake skin umbrellas, gator shoes, cowboy boots, fake wallets, fake bags, fake clothes, fake watches, overpriced tourist souvenirs, size XXXXXL clothing items, fast food, or any other of Itaewon’s classy items of export will be granted 1 day shopping passes, on Mondays only.

    With the Korean public, and the US army (dependents, families, spouses) thoroughly separated, we expect no further incidents between the two populaces. This will allow the Korean public to place the blame for all white skinned related crime directly on the English teaching crowd. And those who are victimized in the green zone, well, hey, you signed the waiver, and you took the chance. Life is a gamble. Soldiers caught outside the green zone without their Korean minders will be immediately imprisoned.

    So when you see an S-Class Mercedes, black, with blacked out windows and black flags with blue diplomatic plates and a Jack-in-the-Box bobble head antnnae pull up in front of the cart that sells 10,000won plastic Gucci wallets, and you see the door open, and you see the finest specimen of waygook achievement and culture, so thoroughly refined that you almost cannot believe your eyes – that will be me. Wave, say hi, come shake my hand. I’m the mayor. I’m keeping this town safe. I’m cleaning up the trash and I have ideas. Countless ideas.

    OffshoreMM · April 20th, 2009 at 3:57 AM

  • [quote]Korean fear of Itaewon is so 1990s. In fact, the place is now mostly regarded more as hip or interesting. As far as safety, it’s probably seen as no more so than other Korean night spots these days. It helps that the subway runs right through it and loads of Koreans have experienced it in the daylight.

    When I mentioned to Koreans that my then future ex lived in Itaewon, I would get a variety of neutral or negative responses, but rarely did “dangerous” come up. (Dirty or “she lives there because she can’t speak Korean, right?” were the most common.)[/quote]

    kushibo do you live in Korea? or better yet, are you an English teacher that is surrounded by American loving Koreans that you don’t even realize that most Koreans still consider itaewon is being “dangerous”, and that second group includes Koreans in their 20’s and early 30’s. MOST of the Koreans that do not FIT into that age group still consider Itaewon as DANGEROUS so please don’t call it “sooo 1990’s” like some kind of valley girl fad because it is actually a fear that Koreans DO have. Open your ears idiot

    anonymous coward · April 20th, 2009 at 9:20 AM

  • Anonymous Coward, any more posts you make as “Peter P” or anything similar will get your IP banned.

    Korea Beat · April 20th, 2009 at 10:24 AM

  • Hopefully this movie will be better than the as yet unreleased Nogunri movie (작은연못), which looks like a ‘we were all such beautiful innocent people until the evil Americans killed us’ kind of film – just look at the poster:

    http://movie.naver.com/movie/bi/mi/basic.nhn?code=63268

    bulgasari · April 20th, 2009 at 6:57 PM

  • @Bulgasari

    But how else will lazy film-makers/journalists drum up easy public outrage if they don’t use the ole American scapegoat?

    Jesus · April 20th, 2009 at 11:16 PM

  • OffshoreMM: greatest ever post on kb–fact!

    dub · April 20th, 2009 at 11:50 PM

  • It was a very tragic event done by a couple of stupid kids. It was done for no reason at all. I know this because i was there. And yes the prosecution was was really messed up and they did some very questionable things during and after the trial. But the fault lays on the two kids who did that heinous crime and the other kids(including myself) who helped them get away with it.

    dms · May 28th, 2009 at 3:00 PM

  • @BULGASARI
    and
    @JESUS
    ——————————————

    ” bulgasari wrote:
    Hopefully this movie will be better than the as yet unreleased Nogunri movie (작은연못), which looks like a ‘we were all such beautiful innocent people until the evil Americans killed us’ kind of film – just look at the poster:”

    ——————————————
    “Jesus wrote:
    @Bulgasari

    But how else will lazy film-makers/journalists drum up easy public outrage if they don’t use the ole American scapegoat?

    Monday, April 20, 2009 at 11:16 pm | Permalink ”
    ——————————————

    Oh my god, some people are so ignorant..
    You 2 obviously don’t even have the slightest clue of what you’re talking about.

    The yet to be released film “작은연못”
    is more than just a ‘we were all such beautiful innocent people until the evil Americans killed us’ kind of film.
    It’s a dramatic screen play based on the war crimes committed during the Korean war, and is deeply in tribute the thousands of victims that were massacred, raped and forgotten, fogotten because of the lies many greedy old men and so-called “war heroes” decide to tell their public.

    ‘we were all such beautiful innocent people until the evil Americans killed us’???

    Jesus f******** Christ, is that the best quote you can come up with when talking about war crime victims? Don’t you have any respect or morals?

    Seeing how you can type in Korean, i assume you’re either a foreigner who’s spent some time Korea, or just a spoiled little “gyopo” who’s spent enough of his time abroad to think that he is too cool to learn about his or her own country’s history.

    Well, i’m not really sure if any movie has ever made you HATE another country or race, but i’d like to remind you that it’s not the movies that cause hatred against foreigners, it’s ARROGANT and STUPID people like YOU!
    It’s people like you that give foreigners and Gyopos a bad name.
    I suggest you keep stupid opinions to yourself, especially when you don’t even know what the ***** you’re talking about.

    Andrew · September 7th, 2009 at 2:10 AM

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