Timeline: The rise and fall of South Korea’s Park Geun-hye
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Handcuffed and her inmate number put on her clothing, South Korea’s disgraced ex-President Park Geun-hye was brought to a Seoul court on Tuesday to stand trial on a slew of corruption charges that have already led to her ouster from office and arrest.
It was yet another massive humiliation for Park, who was elected South Korea’s first female president in late 2012 thanks to the overwhelming support of conservatives who remember her slain dictator father as a hero who salvaged the country from poverty.
Some of the key moments in Park’s life:
Feb. 2, 1952: Park is born as the eldest child of Park Chung-hee and Yuk Young-soo.
1963: Park moves to the presidential Blue House after her father becomes president, two years after he staged a coup and took control of the country.
1974: Park’s mother is shot and killed by an ethnic Korean from Japan, claiming orders from then-North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, while Park Chung-hee was making a speech at a Seoul theater. Park Geun-hye is rushed from Paris, where she had been studying, and begins serving as acting first lady.
1979: Park Chung-hee is assassinated by his intelligence chief, Kim Jae-kyu, during a late-night drinking party. Park Geun-hye’s first reaction to the news of her father’s death is reportedly to check on the security status at the border with North Korea, comments that lead supporters to say she deserves a national leadership role. After her father’s state funeral, Park Geun-hye leaves the Blue House.
1998: After years of avoiding the public eye, Park enters politics and wins a parliamentary seat amid public nostalgia for her father that erupted after South Korea was battered by the Asian financial crisis. She becomes an icon of South Korean conservatives.
2006: Park, then leader of the main conservative opposition party, is attacked by a man wielding a box cutter while she was campaigning in Seoul for upcoming elections. She is given 60 stitches on an 11-centimeter (4-inch) gash on her face. The first words she says at a hospital were, “How is Daejeon?” to check how the election campaign was going in that central city; that further builds up her image as a strong leader.
2012: Park wins the presidency by defeating her main liberal rival, Moon Jae-in.
Dec. 9, 2016: Park is impeached by the liberal-controlled parliament over allegations that she extorted money from big companies, took bribes from some of them and committed other wrongdoing, all in collaboration with her longtime friend of 40 years, Choi Soon-sil. Park once described Choi as a person who helped her “when I had difficulties” in the past, in an apparent reference to her parents’ assassinations.
March 10, 2017: Park is formally removed from office after the Constructional Court upholds her impeachment.
March 31, 2017: Park is arrested and jailed by prosecutors.
May 9, 2017: Park’s rival, Moon, wins a presidential by-election to choose her successor.
May 23, 2017: Park, in handcuffs, is brought to the Seoul Central District Court for the opening of her criminal trial, which is expected to take several months.