South Korea jails man who torched ex-president's birthplace

The memorial hall for late President Park Chung Hee is covered in ash and soot after a fire, in his birthplace in Gumi, South Korea, on Dec 1, 2016.
The memorial hall for late President Park Chung Hee is covered in ash and soot after a fire, in his birthplace in Gumi, South Korea, on Dec 1, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

SEOUL (AFP) - A South Korean court on Tuesday (April 25) jailed a man for setting fire to the birthplace of late dictator Park Chung Hee in protest at the behaviour of his scandal-hit daughter, President Park Geun Hye.

The 48-year-old surnamed Baek was sentenced to 54 months in prison by Daegu District Court for arson at the old home of Park Chung Hee in the southern town of Gumi last December.

Baek told investigators he was angry that President Park Geun Hye did not resign or "kill herself" following the emergence of a corruption scandal that finally saw her removed from office last month.

She is now in custody and on trial for bribery.

The memorial hall was gutted in the blaze, with portraits of Park Chung Hee and his wife lost. No one was hurt.

Park Chung Hee is credited with pulling the war-ravaged South out of poverty during his iron-fisted rule from 1961-1979, when he was assassinated by his security chief.

However, he is also reviled for his regime's human rights abuses.

Baek previously received a suspended prison term for setting fire to the birthplace of President Roh Tae Woo, a former general, in 2012.