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Ex-South Korean president arrives at detention centre


Park Geun-hye at Seoul Central District Court (AP)

Park Geun-hye at Seoul Central District Court (AP)

Park Geun-hye at Seoul Central District Court (AP)

South Korea's former president has arrived at a detention centre after a Seoul court approved her arrest over corruption allegations.

Live TV footage showed a black sedan carrying Park Geun-hye entering the detention centre near Seoul.

The Seoul court said it decided to approve Ms Park's arrest because of worries that she may try to destroy evidence.

Ms Park's supporters were seen carrying national flags and shouting "president" when her car was entering the detention facility.

Ms Park was questioned for nearly nine hours by the court on Thursday before its decision to grant the arrest warrant.

Prosecutors can detain her for up to 20 days before formally charging her, meaning she will likely be in jail while her case is heard. A district court normally issues a ruling within six months of an indictment.

Prosecutors accuse Ms Park of colluding with a confidante to extort from big businesses, take a bribe from one of the companies and commit other wrongdoing.

The allegations led millions of South Koreans to protest in the streets every weekend for months before the Constitutional Court ruled March 10 to remove her.

Ms Park's presidential powers had already been suspended after Parliament impeached her in December.

Prosecutors have said they want to arrest Ms Park because her alleged crimes are "grave" and because other suspects involved the scandal, including her confidante Choi Soo-sil, have already been arrested.

In the coming weeks, prosecutors are expected to formally charge Ms Park with extortion, bribery and abuse of power. A bribery conviction alone is punishable by up to life in prison in South Korea.

Ms Park and Ms Choi deny most of the allegations. Ms Park has said she only let Ms Choi edit some of her presidential speeches and got her help on "public relations" issues. Ms Choi made similar statements.

Park Geun-hye became South Korea's first female president after being elected in 2012.


PA Media