Picture of the Day: Pictures of Park Removed from Blue House

Park's photos removed from Cheong Wa Dae

These before (top) and after photos, taken between March 13 and 14, 2017, show that pictures of former President Park Geun-hye were taken down from the media compound of the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae. The compound is used to house the press and for media-related events such as presidential news conferences. Park was removed from office in a ruling by the Constitutional Court on March 10. (Yonhap)

Impeached President Park to Be Interview By Prosecutors Next Week

It will be very interesting to see if the prosecutors get anything to stick to Park Geun-hye:

Prosecutors said Wednesday they have informed former President Park Geun-hye to show up for a questioning on March 21, 2017. Park will be questioned as a suspect in an abuse of power and corruption scandal.

The Constitutional Court permanently removed Park from office on Friday, lifting the presidential immunity that has shielded her from criminal prosecution. A special investigation team headed by the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office chief Lee Young-ryeol is currently investigating the allegations.

Independent counsel Park Young-soo handed over unfinished cases against Park to the prosecution last week. The special investigation team, which started the initial probe into the scandal involving Park, her inner circle and large business groups at the end of last year, was revived.   [Joong Ang Ilbo]

Picture of the Day: Park Geun-hye Leaves Blue House in 1979

Court rules to impeach Park

Former President Park Geun-hye is photographed departing the presidential office and residence Cheong Wa Dae on Nov. 21, 1979. Park had lived at Cheong Wa Dae when her father Park Chung-hee was president and also served as the first lady after her mother was assassinated. She moved out of the presidential compound after her father was also assassinated in October 1979. On March 10, 2017, the eight judges of the Constitutional Court ruled unanimously to impeach Park, forcing her to move out again unexpectedly. (Yonhap file photo)

Picture of the Day: Former President Preparing for Move

Park's residence in southern Seoul under inspection

Former President Park Geun-hye’s residence in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul, is under inspection by her guards on March 11, 2017, before she returns from Cheong Wa Dae. Park is currently staying in the presidential house despite the Constitutional Court’s decision on Friday to remove her from office over corruption scandal. (Yonhap)

Judge: Former President Park Removed from Office “to End Bad Political Customs”

For people who have followed South Korean politics for many years what former President Park was removed from office for is something that past Presidents have arguably done.  How many shady corruption scandals have past ROK Presidents’ family and friends been involved in?  For example Park’s shady friend is no where near as bad as former President Kim Dae-jung’s cash for summit scandal with North Korea.   The ROK Constitutional Court says it has decided to end the bad political customs that have effected Korean politics with their ruling.  I guess we will see if in the future every ROK President is now impeached for corruption scandals involving close friends or relatives:

“The president must exert her powers in respect to the Constitution and laws and her performance of her public duty must be transparently revealed for public evaluation,” Lee said. “But Park completely hid Choi’s intervention in state affairs. Whenever suspicions were raised, she denied and even criticized those raising the questions. Therefore, the checking and monitoring ability of constitutional institutions such as the National Assembly and media failed to function.”
(……..)

The court also announced supplementary opinions regarding Park’s alleged nonfeasance during the Sewol ferry’s sinking, in which 304 passengers died on April 16, 2014 due to a weak government rescue operation. Although the judges agreed that her nonfeasance during the tragedy could not be used as grounds for dismissal, Judges Kim Yi-su and Lee Jin-sung said Park did fail her constitutional duty to faithfully serve as the president and a public servant. Judge Ahn Chang-ho also gave the opinion that the impeachment trial was not an ideological contest, but a matter of protecting the constitutional order, and dismissal was necessary to end bad political customs. [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

Two Protesters Dead After President Park’s Impeachment Upheld By Constitutional Court

Could you imagine what the body count would be if the Constitutional Court did not approve the impeachment?:

Emergency medical crews treat a pro-Park protester who collapsed after having breathing problems on a street in front of Anguk Station, near the Constitutional Court, Friday. / Yonhap

Two people died and five were hurt on Friday during a demonstration protesting the Constitutional Court’s decision to impeach former Korean President Park Geun-hye. The incidents happened near the court in central Seoul.

The court’s eight judges announced their unanimous decision before noon.

A man surnamed Kim, 60, was found unconscious near Anguk subway station, near the court, about 12:15 p.m., according to the National Police Agency. He was taken to a hospital but died.

A man in his 70s, surnamed Kim, was found with a head injury near the station. He was bleeding heavily and taken to a hospital but also died.

Five protesters were injured, according to Newsis. A man in his 50s was injured after falling off the roof of a police bus near the station about 1:50 p.m. Reports said he stabbed himself in the abdomen, saying “I will save the President risking my own life.”  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

Impeachment Ruling for President Park Coming Within 24 Hours

The time is set for the ROK Constitutional Court to announce their ruling on the impeachment of President Park:

This image shows President Park Geun-hye (R) and Lee Jung-mi, acting chief justice of the Constitutional Court. (Yonhap)

The Constitutional Court will deliver its ruling on the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye Friday, a court official said.

The announcement will be made at 11 a.m. and broadcast live from the main courtroom, court spokesman Bae Bo-yoon said Wednesday.

If the court upholds the impeachment, Park will be permanently removed from office and South Korea will be required to hold a presidential election within 60 days.

If the court rejects her impeachment, Park will be immediately reinstated to serve out her term through February.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but I would not be surprised to see riots in the streets if President Park is not impeached.  On the flip side if she is impeached I am really curious to see what the evidence against her is?

President Park Geun-hye Named as A Bribery Suspect By Prosecutors

I am really curious what evidence the prosecutors have against President Park that she committed bribery because I have yet to see any?:

South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye was named a bribery suspect on Tuesday as special prosecutors wrapped up their three-month probe into a massive influence-peddling scandal.

The probe team, led by Independent Counsel Park Young-soo, suspects that the president colluded with her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil and took bribes from the country’s largest conglomerate Samsung Group in return for business favors, its spokesman Lee Kyu-chul said.

President Park, currently awaiting the Constitutional Court’s decision on her impeachment, will not face charges for now as an incumbent president has immunity from criminal indictment.

State prosecutors will decide whether to continue with the investigation into Park as the deadline for the special probe team expires Tuesday.

Special prosecutors indicted Lee Jae-yong, the de facto leader of Samsung, on charges of giving or promising some 43.3 billion won (US$38.3 million) in bribes to the president’s jailed friend Choi in return for the government’s backing of a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015.  [Yonhap]

I would not be surprised if the prosecutors named her as a bribery suspect just to appease the mobs of protesters knowing full well they don’t have any evidence to charge her.

Picture of the Day: Separate Protests

Public square divided into two

Liberal and conservative groups host two separate rallies — one calling for President Park Geun-hye’s resignation and the other against Park’s impeachment — in central Seoul on Feb. 25, 2017, as she marked the fourth anniversary of her presidency. Park was impeached in December over a massive corruption scandal centered on her close friend Choi Soon-sil. The Constitutional Court is expected to determine whether to approve the impeachment or not next month. (Yonhap)

Picture of the Day: Conservatives Protest Against Impeachment of President Park

Conservatives rally against Park's impeachment

Members of conservative groups take part in a rally in areas around Seoul City Hall on Feb. 25, 2017, the fourth anniversary of President Park Geun-hye’s inauguration, to urge the Constitutional Court to dismiss the impeachment. Park was impeached in December over a massive corruption scandal centered on her close friend Choi Soon-sil. The court is expected to determine whether to approve the impeachment or not next month. (Yonhap)