The US prisoners were growing weary of having their photo taken by North Koreans during the war. The North Korean photographers were using the photos as propaganda, and the US prisoners knew it. They had to come up with a way to rebel against their captors.
The idea was first conceived when the prisoners were shown a film about the North Korean soccer team visiting London for the Olympics. An image was seen of a man flipping off the Korean soccer team. At that moment, the prisoners had realized the Koreans didn’t know what that hand sign meant!
From that day forward, the prisoners agreed that they would give “the finger” to the propaganda photographers any chance that they had. When the Koreans realized the hand signal was always being used, they asked the prisoners what it meant. The prisoners told the Koreans it was a Hawaiian good luck gesture!