A South Korean court has approved a warrant to arrest ousted president Park Geun-hye, the country’s first democratically elected leader to be thrown out of office, on accusations of bribery and abuse of power, Reuters reports.
Park can be held in a cell for up to 20 days while she is investigated over allegations that she colluded with a friend, Choi Soon-sil, to pressure big businesses to contribute to now-defunct foundations set up to back her policy initiatives.
A judge at the Seoul Central District Court said in a statement that “the cause and the need for the warrant are recognized as the main charges against her have been verified and as evidence could be destroyed.”
About two hours after the ruling, Park was driven to the Seoul Detention Center just outside of the city in a black sedan, with two female investigators escorting her, televised news showed.
Her supporters shouted her name and waved South Korean flags as she arrived at the detention center just before 5 a.m. local time, behind a cordon formed by the police to prevent the crowd from following her in and mixing with any Park opponents, who were also at the scene.
Park gave about eight hours of testimony at the same court on Thursday and was held at the prosecutors’ office next door while the judge studied the evidence and arguments to decide on whether to issue the arrest warrant.
On Thursday, Park, 65, arrived expressionless at the court to plead her case that she should not be arrested or held while prosecutors investigate the scandal.
Park argues that she does not pose a flight risk and will not try to tamper with evidence.
She and Choi have both denied any wrongdoing.
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