On May 25, 2003, a 30-year-old mother, her 2-year-old son, and their nanny were found slain in the bathroom of their Koreatown apartment. Chi Hyon Song, her son Hyun Woo Song, and Eun Sik Min were shot execution-style in the crowded Los Angeles apartment building, but for years, the police were baffled by who could have done this. It wasn’t until 2008 that a lead finally came in, but “Strangeland” thinks justice may not have been served.
In a new series from Audiochuck, investigative journalist Ben Adair and filmmaker/interpreter Sharon Choi reexamine stunning cases from immigrant neighborhoods. “Strangeland’s” first season, released in early November of 2021, is investigating this violent case that stunned LA’s Koreatown.
You may recognize Sharon Choi from the 2019-2020 film awards season, when Parasite was sweeping categories left and right. She was the praised interpreter for Bong Joon-ho, Parasite‘s director, delivering his iconic statement in English: “Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”
Adair has helped create and launch numerous top ten podcasts, including “Dirty John,” “American History Tellers,” and “Young Charlie.” Together, this duo of an investigative true crime journalist and professional filmmaker are going where the LAPD couldn’t, finding new evidence that may change the case.
Obviously, LAPD detectives first checked out the husband: a wealthy businessman who was potentially having an affair. But, he had an airtight alibi, and he was eventually released from the suspect list. Which left the police with…no one. The crime was so strange in both what was done and what was not done that detectives could not pin down a motive. Nothing was taken from the apartment despite the family’s wealth, and the execution-style murder of the 2-year-old son was so bizarre and perplexing that it led to a dead end. And why was the mother murdered so much later after her son and nanny?
Eventually, they had a suspect by the name of Robin Cho, whose fingerprints were sent into the LAPD database in 2008 and ended up matching the fingerprints at the crime scene. The weirdest part: he was the Song’s neighbor. He had a record of fraud, but is that a sure sign of someone who would commit a triple-homicide, including a child?
“Strangeland” looks at this shocking case, one that needs to take into account the immigrant experience of the many involved. Their focus on crimes in immigrant neighborhoods emphasizes how those aspects could have played into the crime, the police’s action, and the court outcome. They speak with lawyers, DNA lab scientists, professors, and more to dig through all of the evidence laid out on this “Strangeland.”