SEOUL • Ousted South Korean president Park Geun Hye will be kept in detention for a further six months, a Seoul court ruled yesterday, as she stands trial in a corruption case that toppled her from power.
The sprawling scandal involving the former leader and her powerful secret confidante, Choi Soon Sil, unleashed massive nationwide protests last year and has exposed networks of privilege among the country's business and political elite.
Park, 65, was impeached in March and has been detained since then, while standing trial on multiple charges including abuse of power, coercion and bribery that also involved the country's tech giant Samsung.
The Seoul Central District Court yesterday extended Park's detention until April next year, citing a potential risk of evidence being destroyed. She stands accused of offering policy favours to business tycoons, including Samsung heir Lee Jae Yong who helped enrich Choi - the daughter of a shady religious figure who was a long-time mentor to Park until his death in 1994. Park is also accused of letting Choi, who has no title or security clearance, handle a wide range of state affairs, including senior post nominations and Cabinet formation.
The scandal also saw Lee convicted of bribery and other charges relating to payments made by Samsung to Choi. Lee, currently in jail and appealing his five-year prison term, maintains he is innocent and was forced by Park to help enrich Choi. Choi has also been detained for months while on trial for multiple charges including coercion and bribery.