South Korean ex-president Park apologizes, interrogated by prosecutors
SEOULSouth Korea’s ousted president Park Geun-Hye first apologized and was then questioned by prosecutors on March 21 about the corruption and abuse of power scandal that brought her down, after using executive privilege to avoid them for months while in office.
Park apologized to the public as she arrived at the prosecutors’ office in Seoul, adding: “I will undergo the investigation sincerely,” according to AFP.
“I am sorry to the people. I will faithfully cooperate with questioning,” Park said in front of media at the steps of the prosecutors’ office building, her first comments directly to the public since she was dismissed.
The nation’s first female president was impeached by parliament in December last year as millions took to the streets to demand her removal over the sprawling scandal, which has exposed the links between politics and business in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
Her dismissal was confirmed by the country’s top court earlier this month, ending the political career of a woman who grew up in the presidential palace as the daughter of army-backed dictator Park Chung-Hee.
As a private citizen once again, Park’s convoy drove at walking pace through crowds of flag-waving supporters lining the street outside her home - some of them lying on the pavement to try to block her exit before she left.
Every inch of the journey was covered live on television, with cameramen trailing the vehicles in cars and on motorcycles and at fixed points along the route.
Questioning by prosecutors is a key step in South Korea’s judicial process before a suspect is charged. It can last for many hours, late into the night, and can be repeated if officials deem it necessary.
Park faced two prosecutors and an investigator and was accompanied by one of her lawyers, but standard procedure bars him from interjecting, only allowing consultations during rest breaks - which could be an issue for her.