Former President Park Geun-hye Arrested
In December of 2016, Parliament voted to impeach Park Geun-hye from office on charges of corruption, bribery, and abuse of authority. Earlier this month, on March 10, this impeachment was approved by the South Korean Constitutional Court by a vote of 8–0 and Park was removed from public office.
Around 3am today, on March 31, former president Park Geun-Hye was arrested on criminal charges and taken to a detention center located just outside Seoul — where she is expected to remain until her trial.
The detention center Park has been moved to also detains her confidant Choi Soon-sil, known as the Korean Rasputin, and Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong — both of whom were arrested for their involvement in the recent scandal with Park.
Park’s arrest has been a long anticipated event since her impeachment on March 10. Since losing her presidential immunity, South Korea has been waiting for the now-civilian Park to face the consequences of her actions during her time in office.
On Monday of this week, on March 27, prosecutors filed to officially request Park’s arrest and action was quickly taken due to the “graveness of the alleged crimes” and “possibility of the destruction of evidence.”
Though public support of Park has plummeted since the recent political scandal, she still retains a small number of supporters in South Korea’s older demographic, whose loyalty to her stems largely from their support towards her late father, Park Chung-hee, the former president and military dictator of South Korea.
On Thursday, March 30, as Park’s motorcade was leaving her home for her court hearing prior to her arrest, Park’s supporters tried to push past police officers and block Park’s car as it made its way en route to the courthouse. Despite their efforts, however, after a nine-hour court hearing, the Seoul Central District Court issued a warrant for Park’s detainment on criminal charges.
Park is the first president to be effectively impeached from office and the third former president to be arrested on criminal allegations.
On May 9, 2017 a presidential election will be held to determine Park’s replacement — the new political leader of South Korea.