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Park Geun-hye Arrested over South Korea Corruption Scandal


Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye has been arrested and taken into custody over a corruption scandal that led to her dismissal.

The 65-year-old ousted leader was driven to a detention center south of Seoul after a court approved her arrest.

Park Geun-hye is accused of allowing her close friend Choi Soon-sil to extort money from companies, including Samsung, in return for political favors.

The former president, who was removed from office earlier this month, denies the claims.

Park Geun-hye is the third former president of South Korea to be arrested over criminal allegations, Yonhap reports.

The Seoul Central District Court earlier issued a warrant to detain Park Geun-hye while she is investigated on charges of bribery, abuse of authority, coercion and leaking government secrets.

Image source Wikimedia

It followed a nearly nine-hour court hearing on March 30 that Park Geun-hye attended.

The court said in a statement: “It is justifiable and necessary to arrest [Park Geun-hye] as key charges were justified and there is risk of evidence being destroyed.”

Live TV footage showed a black sedan carrying her to the detention facility from the prosecutor’s office where she had been waiting.

Despite the early hour, some 50 supporters, waving national flags and demanding her release, were at the gate to greet her, the AFP reports.

Park Geun-hye can be held for up to 20 days before being formally charged.

If convicted the former president could face more than 10 years in prison.

Park Geun-hye lost her presidential immunity and was dismissed from her post when the constitutional court upheld a decision by parliament in December to impeach her.

Choi Soon-sil is accused of using her presidential connections to pressure companies to give millions of dollars in donations to non-profit foundations she controlled.

Park Geun-hye is alleged to have been personally involved in this, and to have given Choi Soon-sil unacceptable levels of access to official documents.

Judges had said Park Geun-hye had broken the law by allowing Choi Soon-sil to meddle in state affairs, and had breached guidelines on official secrets by leaking numerous documents.

Choi Soon-sil and Samsung’s acting head Lee Jae-yong, also involved in the scandal, are being held in the same detention centre to where Park Geun-hye has been sent. They are also being tried separately.

Hwang Kyo-ahn, who is loyal to Park Geun-hye, is now the acting president and an election is to be held by May 9.

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