Published: Wed, March 22, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Merle Christensen

Park Geun-hye says sorry to people before entering prosecutors' office

Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye is scheduled to appear at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office on Tuesday morning for questioning over her corruption scandal.

"I deeply apologize to the citizens, I will fully cooperate with the investigation", she said outside the prosecutors' offices in Seoul. Confronted with a barrage of questions targeting the president's overdue appearance, Park delivered only a two-sentence remark without any elaboration, "I am sorry to the people".

She was permanently removed from office on March 10 as the constitutional court unanimously upheld the bill to impeach her, making Park the first South Korean leader to be ousted through impeachment. The historic ruling stripped her of the immunity that has shielded her from criminal investigation. She is now facing charges of abuse of power and fraud for allegedly using her relationship with Park to force major South Korean companies to donate millions of dollars to two foundations believed to have been set up by Choi.

Park faces multiple charges ranging from abuse of power and coercion to bribery.

The liberal party's front-runner Moon Jae-in, who has been unchallenged in recent polls for the upcoming presidential election on May 9, also urged the former president to admit her wrongdoing and ask for the people's forgiveness. "President!" while waving national flags.

The 10th floor of the prosecutors' office would be sealed off for the interrogation of the former leader.

Security has been tightened around the prosecutors' office, with some 2,000 policemen dispatched to the scene.

She never married and has maintained a distance from her siblings and personal acquaintances since moving into her childhood home - the presidential Blue House - in 2013.

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Park faced two prosecutors and an investigator and was accompanied by one of her lawyers, but standard procedure bars him from interjecting, only allowing consultations during rest breaks - which could be an issue for her.

Prosecutors have reportedly prepared more than 200 questions for Park, and the interrogation could continue past midnight. Stepping out of her home's black metal gate, Park did not address to her supporters before getting into a black sedan, which followed a motorcade of police motorcycles to the prosecution office.

Yoo, who has called Park his political mentor, said in an interview with Reuters in December he did not hesitate for a moment when offered the job as her lawyer.

The prosecution assigned two senior prosecutors - Lee Won-seok and Han Woong-jae - under the special probe team.

The questioning was expected to run for hours, as she is facing 13 charges. But as the prosecutors haven't confirmed anything, we'll have to see what happens.

While Ms Park apologised to the nation three times in the months prior to her ouster, she has denied any wrongdoing. She has since expressed defiance toward the allegations, saying "I believe the truth will certainly come out".

The special prosecutors have indicted 30 people in connection with the scandal, including business chiefs, presidential aides and prosecutors.

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