Seoul, South Korea: Former President of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, 66, has been sentensed to 24 years in prison and fined 18 billion won (17 million US dollars) after she was found guilty on charges of corruption including abuse of power and bribery.
Park was found guilty of colluding with her friend Choi Soon-sil, 61, who had been already sentenced to 20 years, in taking tens of millions of dollars from conglomerates.
The high-profile graft scandal led to the president’s impeachment in December 2016, and triggered massive protests across South Korea both supporting and condemning Park.
Park is the daughter of former South Korean military leader Park Chung-hee. She became the third South Korean president convicted of crimes. The others were former military generals involved in a 1979 coup and a 1980 civilian massacre.
Her predecessor, Lee Myung-bak, who held the presidential office from 2008 to 2013, is also currently in detention as he is suspected of multiple corruption charges. Unlike Park, he finished his presidential term and was arrested in the wake of the latest scandal in March, 2018.
The graft scandal involved high-profile businessmen, including the vice chairman of Samsung Group, Jay Y. Lee. He was initially sentenced to five years in prison for bribery. However, in February, just before the Winter Olympics kicked off in South Korea, he was released as his sentence was suspended and reduced to two and a half years.
This is the brief sequence of the rise and fall of South Korea’s first female president, Park Geun-hye:
Feb. 25, 2013 park is sworn in as the first female president of South Korea, promising an era of hope,
Oct. 25, 2016 Park makes her first public apology for giving a friend, Choi Soon-sil, access to draft speeches during the first months of her presidency.
Oct. 31, 2016 Choi is arrested on suspicion of exerting inappropriate influence over state affairs.
Nov. 4, 2016 Park makes her second televised apology, saying she would take responsibility if found guilty.
On Nov. 29,2016 Park asks parliament to decide how and when she could give up power due to the scandal in the third TV apology.
Dec. 9, 2016 Parliament votes to impeach Park.
March 10, 2017 Constitutional Court upholds parliament’s vote to impeach Park, removing her from office.
March 12, 2017 Park leaves the presidential Blue House and is greeted by supporters outside her home.
March 31, 2017 Park is arrested on suspicion of corruption and put into jail.
April 6, 2018 She is sentenced to 24 years in jail and fined 18 billion won (17 million US dollars).