Former South Korean president Park arrested in corruption probe

Former President Park Geun-hye is likely to be questioned by prosecutors early next week.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Supporters of arrested former President Park Geun-hye rallied in South Korea's capital Saturday for her release.

Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye, left, gets off a auto upon arrival at the Seoul Central District Court for hearing on a prosecutors' request for her arrest for corruption, in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, March 30, 2017.

A convoy of vehicles, including a black sedan carrying Park, entered a detention facility near Seoul before dawn after the Seoul Central District Court granted a prosecutors' request to arrest her.

The Constitutional Court ruled to dismiss Park over the allegations earlier in March, three months after Parliament impeached her.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's disgraced ex-President Park Geun-hye left court visibly worn out 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.

The former president was removed from office as part of the fallout from an influence-peddling scandal involving her confidant Choi Soon-sil, which saw thousands take to the streets in protests, supported by churchmen and many Catholics, to demand he removal. A court upheld her impeachment last month, removing her presidential immunity from prosecution. Prosecutors had submitted 120,000 pages of documents to the court earlier this week concerning the 13 charges against Ms Park.

Park grew up in the Blue House presidential complex as a daughter of then-President Park Chung-hee, who led South Korea for 18 years through a period of spectacular economic growth called the "miracle on the Han River".

Following the detention of Park, Samsung officials voiced concern that a local court in charge of the trial against Lee may not accept his allegation and the trial may be drawn out. "She has offered to sacrifice herself to protect the constitutionalism of the Republic of Korea and a free democracy", Jung said, referring to South Korea's formal name.

One of the privileges Park would have to give up if arrested will be getting her hair coiffed in the chignon style. A conviction for bribery alone would carry punishment of 10 years to life in prison.

She has repeatedly apologized for the upset caused by the scandal but not admitted any wrongdoing, blaming Choi for abusing their friendship.

The country will go to the polls on May 9 to elect a new president in an atempt to restore stability to the government.

Prosecutors can charge Park without arresting her.

Lee, who denies charges that he provided bribes in return for favors for Samsung, is in detention in the same facility as Park and on trial separately. Despite the paternalistic Confucian values permeating South Korean society, she was seen as a special woman and eventually became the nation's first female president.

Another former president, Roh Moo-hyun, committed suicide in 2009 after prosecutors began a bribery probe.

  • Salvatore Jensen