The horrifying truth behind the drama ‘D.P.’: Brutal hazing in Korea’s army, the alarmingly high number of suicides?

The story of brutal violence and desertion in Netflix series D.P. (Deserter Pursuit) turned out to be true in Korea, making many viewers angry.

Actor Jung Hae In‘s latest drama called D.P. (short for Deserter Pursuit) is gaining huge attention because of its dark and engaging themes and plot. The drama is trending in many countries, receiving high scores on IMDb and Douban for its quality.

Jung Hae In D.P.

The drama does not hesitate to showcase the cruel tortures, harsh curses of the seniors in the Korean military, pushing the young soldiers into a situation of being humiliated, physically and mental injured.  After watching D.P., many viewers have raised the question: is the Korean military in fact as harsh and dark as shown in the drama?

D.P.  is produced based on the popular webtoon D.P: Dog Days written by Kim Bo Tong – who is also the co-producer of this drama alongside director Han Jun Hee. The story follows a young man named An Jun Ho who is assigned the task of catching soldiers who desert. Kim Bo Tong wrote this series based on his own experience working in the D.P department of the army. Although the drama is not based on a true story, many of the details reflected in the drama are reported to have actually happened in the Korean military.

Jung Hae In D.P.

The first accurate point that the film depicts, is the mandatory military enlistment for all men in this country, which lasts 2 years.

Although at first, Jun Ho was excited about his job in the D.P. because he has the chance to participate in actual combat. However, he is forced to face many moral struggles – the responsibility of catching runaway soldiers. If there is a soldier who deserts because of laziness, there is another who runs away just because he wants to take care of his seriously ill grandmother who lives alone. However, what shocked Jun Ho the most was that the young soldiers were bullied and brutally abused by their “seniors” to the point that it was beyond tolerance.

Jung Hae In D.P.

The bullying in the film is described from swearing, bullying to pushing “juniors” to the wall with nails, beating, burning their “private area” hair, putting burning cigarettes on people…These scary scenes made many viewers wince, unable to believe it was real.

Research by sociologist Yoon Min Jae in 2007 proved that this abuse truly occurs in the Korean military. Another 2014 report confirms this. Most specifically, they are acts of violence, verbal abuse, and even sexual abuse. Gay and transgender soldiers are also a leading target of bullying.

Jung Hae In D.P.

D.P.’s story may be fictitious, yet many viewers laud the film not only for its entertainment factor, but also for its bravery in exposing ongoing crimes. If the situation is not brought to light, many more Korean males may face the same fate while enlisting.

Suicide accounts for over 60% of all deaths in the South Korean military each year. According to a Yonsei University study published in 2019, the suicide motivations of many military personnel are linked to severe depression and anxiety. There were 129 Korean soldiers that committed suicide in 1993. This figure had fallen to 62 by 2019, yet it remains alarming, reflecting the danger and toxicity that exists within the South Korean military.

Jung Hae In D.P.
Jung Hae In D.P.

All 6 episodes of D.P. Dog Day are now available on Netflix.

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