Arrest of ousted Park puts Samsung on edge

Park left the Blue House following the assassination of her father in 1979.

Park, ousted in a historic ruling on March 10, became the country's third former president to be arrested over criminal allegations, following Roh Tae-woo and Chun Doo-hwan in the 1990s.

Samsung's de facto leader, Lee Jae-yong, was arrested in mid-February on charges of giving or promising some 43.4 billion won to Choi, and in effect to Park, as kickbacks in return for helping him secure group control through a merger of two key units.

Park was jailed Friday, March 31, 2017, three weeks after the Constitutional Court stripped her of office over a corruption scandal.

Park has said she only let Choi edit some of her presidential speeches and got her help on "public relations" issues.

She had her mugshot taken and was given a prison kit including toiletries, a meal tray and a quilt, reports said.

The prosecutors may detain Ms Park for up to 20 days; if she is to stay behind bars, they must issue a formal indictment against her within that period.

Park's former culture minister, Cho Yoonsun, and her ex-chief of staff, Kim Ki-choon, are also being held at the detention center following their arrests over suspicions that they blacklisted thousands of artists deemed as unfriendly to Park to deny them state support.

"And she will use a bigger cell than those of others".

That includes rising at about 6:30 a.m. and going to bed at around 9 p.m, and being allowed to watch television during the day but only a single channel with pre-recorded programmes authorised by the Justice Ministry. She will be allowed 45 minutes of physical exercise time daily.

She is likely to have been served a simple lunch of rice with bean sprouts, kimchi, cabbage stew, and seaweed on her first day, Friday, the standard fare according to officials.

Prosecutors can charge Park without arresting her.

A hairdresser is available but services are limited to cutting hair. Cosmetics at the detention centre commissary are limited to the basics, like toner and lotion. Hair colouring is also unavailable.

"The suspect abused the mighty power and position as President to take bribes from companies and infringed upon the freedom of corporate management and leaked important confidential official information", the statement from the Seoul Central District Prosecutor's Office said.

Chung Kwang-taek, a protester, said that Park's opponents "ruthlessly attacked a lonely woman who dedicated herself to the country" and that she would overcome her troubles to "live forever as a historical figure".

Samsung's Lee has no shower, only a wash-stand, in his cell and a mattress on the floor to sleep on. Opinion surveys say liberal opposition leader Moon Jae-in, who lost the 2012 election to Park, is the favorite.

  • Leroy Wright