Ousted S. Korean leader says she’s sorry, will co­op­er­ate in probe

New Straits Times - - World -


SFather of ‘Se­wol’ ferry dis­as­ter vic­tim

OUTH Korea’s just-ousted pres­i­dent re­turned home early yes­ter­day af­ter be­ing grilled by pros­e­cu­tors in a long-awaited in­ves­ti­ga­tion of cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions that ended her rule and now threaten to put her in jail.

The ques­tion­ing of Park Ge­un­hye came 11 days af­ter the Con­sti­tu­tional Court unan­i­mously ruled to dis­miss her over sus­pi­cions she col­luded with a con­fi­dante to ex­tort money from busi­nesses and com­mit­ted other wrong­do­ings. Her pow­ers had been sus­pended since she was im­peached by par­lia­ment in De­cem­ber.

“I am sorry to the peo­ple. I will sin­cerely un­dergo an in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” Park said when she ar­rived at the pros­e­cu­tors’ of­fice on Tues­day.

Park’s ques­tion­ing lasted 14 hours and ended just be­fore mid­night. She spent about seven more hours at the pros­e­cu­tors’ of­fice re­view­ing their re­port to check whether they ac­cu­rately de­scribed her tes­ti­mony.

When she left the pros­e­cu­tors’ of­fice and got into a black sedan wait­ing for her, Park didn’t make any com­ments to re­porters. But when she ar­rived at her home in south­ern Seoul, live TV footage showed Park smil­ing, talk­ing to rul­ing party law­mak­ers and giv­ing a nod in ges­tures of greet­ings

THURS­DAY, MARCH 23, 2017 sev­eral times for dozens of flag­wav­ing sup­port­ers who lined up streets lead­ing up to her res­i­dence.

In Park’s ques­tion­ing, pros­e­cu­tors tried to de­ter­mine whether to seek an ar­rest war­rant, ac­cord­ing to South Korean media. Many other sus­pects im­pli­cated in the scan­dal have al­ready been ar­rested, in­clud­ing Park’s con­fi­dante Choi Soon-sil, some top gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and Sam­sung Women flash­ing the vic­tory sign in front of a bon­fire as Turk­ish Kurds gather dur­ing Newroz cel­e­bra­tions for the new year in Diyarbakir, south­east­ern Turkey, on Tues­day. Newroz, also known as Nawroz or Nowruz, is an an­cient Per­sian fes­ti­val, which is also cel­e­brated by Kur­dish peo­ple, mark­ing the first day of spring, which falls on March 21. heir Lee Jae-yong.

Pros­e­cu­tors have pre­vi­ously ac­cused Park of ex­tor­tion, bribery and abuse of power, which could the­o­ret­i­cally carry penal­ties of up to life im­pris­on­ment. But ar­rest­ing Park would be a del­i­cate mat­ter be­cause it might ag­gra­vate a national di­vide and cre­ate a strong con­ser­va­tive back­lash ahead of an elec­tion in May to choose her suc­ces­sor, some po­lit­i­cal ex­perts said. AP



Park Geun-hye is all smiles as she greets her sup­port­ers near her home in Seoul, South Korea, yes­ter­day.

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