South Korea's ex-president returns to her home in Seoul's upscale Gangnam area

Police officers standing guard outside ousted South Korean leader Park Geun Hye's house in Seoul on Sunday. She had reportedly lived a quiet life in this rich neighbourhood for some years until she became president in 2012.
Police officers standing guard outside ousted South Korean leader Park Geun Hye's house in Seoul on Sunday. She had reportedly lived a quiet life in this rich neighbourhood for some years until she became president in 2012. PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL • Impeached president Park Geun Hye has returned to her house in Seoul's posh Gangnam district.

Her private home is a detached, two-storey house on a quiet backstreet in the affluent district, where shops and apartment buildings have French names, and luxury car showrooms line avenues.

The house is surrounded by a high, red-brick wall topped with barbed wire and CCTV cameras. A row of trees obscures most of it from the road. A small police booth guards the main entrance, besides which is an empty bracket for a flagpole.

Residents said they saw her occasionally in the leafy neighbourhood until 2012, when she won a closely fought election to become president.

"She kept her life very quiet. She would take a private car to commute," said resident Lee Bum Yong.

 

Ms Park bought the house in 1990 and it was her official address until 1998, when her focus switched to the city of Daegu, her father's political base, as she pursued a career in politics. Four years later, she moved back to the house.

It is not the first time Ms Park has had to leave the Blue House, a presidential palace compound of traditional-style buildings at the foot of a rocky hill in central Seoul.

In 1979, following the assassination of her father, former president Park Chung Hee, the young Ms Park had left the Blue House with her siblings for a family home.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2017, with the headline 'Ex-president returns to her home in Seoul's upscale Gangnam area'. Print Edition | Subscribe