Longtime Friend of South Korea’s President Detained

Longtime Friend of South Korea’s President Detained

South Korea is seeing protests as a reaction to a longtime friend of the president being detained this Monday. Protesters are saying that President Park Geun-hye should step down as a result of the scandal. Choi Soon-sil is the daughter of a cult leader in South Korea and has been friends with the president for decades. Now, it looks like she may have had a more important role than that of just a friend. Allegations against Choi Soon-sil range from meddling in the affairs of the country to siphoning funds. South Korean prosecutors believe that Choi Soon-sil had a much greater influence on president Park Geun-hye than it first appears.

Choi Soon-sil Detained after Hours of Questioning

The influence that Choi Soon-sil wielded may have extended beyond that of a mere friendship. It is possible that she was even involved in giving advice to the president about policy. South Korean prosecutors questioned Choi Soon-sil for hours. After the questioning, she was kept under an “emergency detention”. Investigators argued that there is a chance that she could flee the country. Another concern for investigators is that she could destroy evidence that is relevant to the ongoing investigations. Authorities are going to decide within 48 hours whether or not to formally arrest Choi Soon-sil.

After the South Korea media reported on the relationship between Choi Soon-sil and president Park Geun-hye there were massive protests. The protests went on for several days. Protesters wearing masks of the two implied that the South Korean president was Choi Soon-sil’s puppet. Blocking streets in Seoul, protesters asked for Park’s resignation.

An Influence on President Park Geun-hye

Choi Soon-sil stands accused of influencing the way Park Geun-hye runs the country. Despite holding no public office or governmental posts. Also, prosecutors are accusing her of taking money from two nonprofit groups.

The South Korean president gave a televised address. She admitted that she asked Choi Soon-sil for advice regarding some of her speeches. But she limited the relationship and the influence that Choi Soon-sil had to public relations advice.

There were dramatic scenes outside the prosecutor’s office in Seoul this Monday. As Choi returned from Germany to face questions, a crowd of journalists and protesters was assembled outside the prosecutor’s office. Choi would not answer any questions about the nature of her relationship to president Park Geun-hye. Instead she expressed regret for the things she had done, although she would not state what those were.

Choi’s return from seclusion in Germany to face questioning resulted in dramatic scenes Monday, as she was inundated by a crowd of journalists and protestors outside the prosecutor’s office in Seoul.

“Please, forgive me. I’m sorry. I committed a sin that deserves death,”

said Choi Soon-sil outside the prosecutor’s office in Seoul.

Choi Soon-sil has been a friend to president Park Geun-hye for over forty years. In fact, Choi’s father, Choi Tae min was a friend to Park’s father. Park Chung-hee was the president of South Korea from 1961 to 1979. Choi Tae min was a friend to Park Chung-hee and many considered him an unwelcomed influence on the president.

Image source: here.