March 31, 2017 09:26
Ex-President Park Geun-hye was arrested early Friday after a court granted prosecutors' request for a warrant on a slew of charges including bribery, abuse of power and leaking government secrets.
The Seoul Central District Court accepted that her arrest is necessary to "hedge the risk of Park fleeing or destroying evidence."
Park was taken to a remand prison, the third ex-president to be detained on criminal charges after Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo.
Park, who was ousted last month, had been waiting all night at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office about 150 m away as the court reviewed the warrant request.
Earlier in the day, she appeared in court to plead innocence.
Intense legal debate took almost nine hours before the court spent another eight hours deciding whether to take her into custody.
Prosecutors argued that Park needs to be arrested since her alleged accomplices are already on remand while their trial is in progress, whereas her lawyers said she presents no flight risk and is unlikely to destroy evidence since she had been living under virtual house arrest since her ouster.
Park faces 13 charges, including colluding with her confidante Choi Soon-sil to solicit W43.3 billion in bribes from Samsung and extorting billions more from other top conglomerates (US$1=W1,118). She denies all charges.
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