Key moments in life of disgraced ex-S. Korean leader
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean court on Friday sentenced former President Park Geun-hye to 24 years in prison on charges of bribery, extortion, abuse of power and other crimes over an explosive corruption scandal that removed her from office one year ago.
Some key moments in Park’s life:
1963: Park moves to Seoul’s presidential Blue House, two years after her father Park Chung-hee took power in a coup.
1974: Park’s mother is fatally shot by an ethnic Korean from Japan, claiming orders from then-North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, while her husband was making a speech in Seoul. Park Geun-hye returns from Paris, where she had been studying, and begins serving as acting first lady.
1979: Park Chung-hee is assassinated by his spy chief during a late-night drinking party. Park Geun-hye’s first reaction to her father’s death is reportedly to check on the security status at the border with North Korea, comments that inspire 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 as the country struggled with a financial crisis. She quickly becomes a heavyweight in conservative politics.
2006: Park, the leader of the main conservative opposition party, is attacked by a man wielding a box cutter while she was campaigning for upcoming elections. She is given 60 stitches on an 11-centimeter (4-inch) gash on her face. The first words she reportedly says at a hospital were, “How is Daejeon?” to check how the election campaign was going in that 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.
2016: Media report suspicions that a senior Park aide pressured companies into giving money to non-profit organizations controlled by Choi Soon-sil, Park’s friend of 40 years. Park acknowledges her ties with Choi in a nationally televised speech, but denies breaking the law. Prosecutors indict Choi and two former Park aides in November. The liberal-controlled parliament impeaches Park in December.
March 2017: The Constitutional Court votes unanimously to uphold the impeachment and remove Park from office, which lifts her immunity from prosecution. Prosecutors call her in for questioning. Ten days later, she is arrested.
April 2017: Park is indicted by prosecutors on multiple charges, including abuse of power, extortion, bribery and leaking state secrets.
May 2017: Park’s rival, Moon, wins a presidential by-election. Weeks later, Park, in handcuffs, is brought to the Seoul Central District Court for the opening of her criminal trial.
Feb. 13: The court sentences Choi, Park’s friend, to 20 years in prison for bribery.
Feb. 27: Prosecutors demand a 30-year prison term for Park, saying she has shown no remorse for “disrupting constitutional order and damaging the public’s trust in state power.”
April 6: The court sentences Park to 24 years in prison.