South Korean judge to deliberate on whether to arrest Park

South Korea's disgraced ex-President Park Geun-hye left court visibly tired after a almost nine-hour hearing by the judge who will decide, perhaps by Friday morning, if she should be arrested over the corruption allegations that have already toppled her from power.

During the issuance of Park's arrest warrant, a Seoul Central District Court judge noted that "the cause and the need for the warrant are recognized as the main charges against her have been verified and as evidence could be destroyed".

Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye (C) is transferred in a auto from Seoul to a detention house in Gyeonggi province, South Korea, on March 31, 2017.

After her testimony, Park left for the prosecutor's office, where she will stay until the judge rules on her case. With the arrest warrant, the prosecution can detain her for up to 20 days.

The Seoul Central District Court agreed this was a risk and issued a warrant early Friday.

Park is a living icon for some of the country's right-wing establishment which has been rabidly supportive of a pro-U.S., hardline stance against China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Park's ties with the Choi clan will prove to be damaging after she becomes president. Police and security personnel blocked her supporters from spilling into the street to stop her auto as it left her house in Seoul's upmarket Gangnam neighborhood.

Park and Choi deny most of the allegations.

A South Korean court says it has approved the arrest of ex-President Park Geun-hye over corruption allegations.

The former president is accused of allowing her close friend Choi Soon-sil to extort money from companies in return for political favours. Former presidential aides, ex-ministers and Samsung Group's de facto leader Lee Jae-yong have also been arrested and are standing trial.

Park's father, Chung-hee, was gunned down by his own intelligence chief in 1979, five years after his wife was killed in an assassination attempt that targeted him. A sketch called Yeouido Teletubbies poked fun at the candidates of the 2012 Korean presidential election, depicting Park as a foul-mouthed Teletubbie.

She is the third former president of South Korea to be arrested over criminal allegations, Yonhap reports.

Earlier this month, Park was removed from office after South Korea's top court affirmed her impeachment by lawmakers in December.

Park becomes the third former leader to be arrested over corruption in Asia's fourth-largest economy, where politics and big business have always been closely tied.

Prosecutors can charge Park without arresting her.

As a result, Park Geun-hye, who continues to wear the hairstyle favored by her mother in the 1970s, has been seen as a tragic figure by some.

  • Leroy Wright