November 17, 2016 11:24
President Park Geun-hye used a soap-opera alias to receive free beauty treatments at an upscale clinic recommended by her crony Choi Soon-sil.
The revelation highlights Park's bizarre dependence on her friend of 40 years, whose inner circle was a rogues' gallery of characters who prey on the clueless rich, from inept handbag designers to personal fitness trainers.
Prodded by Choi Soon-sil and her older sister Soon-deuk, Park had been getting vitamin injections and other treatments at the luxury Chaum clinic in Gangnam since she was a lawmaker, using the pseudonym Gil Ra-im.
When she became president, the vitamin injections were prescribed to the Chois, but a doctor from the clinic sneaked into Cheong Wa Dae to administer them to Park no fewer than 29 times.
Lee Byung-seok, the head of Severance Hospital and Park's official physician back then, said Cheong Wa Dae officials never told him that the Chaum doctor came to the presidential office.
There are apparently no Cheong Wa Dae records of the injections, a breach of protocol.
The Cheong Wa Dae medical team consists of 20 military doctors and nurses specializing in different fields, and the president’s health is considered a top state secret.
Gil Ra-im is the name of the heroine in the TV drama "Secret Garden," which was a hit back in 2011. The Cha Medical Center, which owns Chaum, confirmed that Park used the alias from January to July 2011 but was then advised to stop the practice.
Chaum prescribes anti-aging remedies tailored to each client based on analysis of blood and urine samples.
As Koreans greet each fresh revelation in the snowballing scandal with disbelief and ridicule, "Gil Ra-im" became the most-searched word on Internet portals on Wednesday.
In an interview in 2011, Park admitted that her favorite actor was Hyun Bin, the male lead in "Secret Garden."
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