Impeached South Korean president Park leaves mansion

By Allen Cone   |   March 12, 2017 at 9:58 AM

March 12 (UPI) -- Park Geun-hye left South Korea's presidential mansion Sunday, two days after judges voted to uphold the parliament's impeachment of the Asian leader.

Park left the Blue House around 7 p.m. and arrived at her private home in southern Seoul. She rode in a black limousine with the protection of about 1,000 police officers and her security detail.

Supporters, many in tears, chanted support for the former president at her residence, including "Take back the impeachment" and "Park Geun-hye, we love you."

"I thank people who have supported and believed in me," Park said a statement read by Liberty Korea Party Rep. Min Kyung-wook. "I will accept all the results. It will take time but I believe that truth will definitely come out."

"I feel sorry that I couldn't fulfill my duty as president until the end," she said.

Park was impeached in a corruption scandal that involved her close friend, Choi Soon-sil. The Constitutional Court on Friday upheld the vote by lawmakers to impeach over corruption and cronyism allegations.

Prosecutors are expected to begin interrogating Park as early as Monday. She could face criminal charges and they may seek to block her from leaving the country, according to Korean broadcaster YTN.

An election for president must be held within 60 days to replace Park, who was elected as South Korea's first female president in 2012.

Human rights lawyer Moon Jae-in, of the Democratic Party, is the early front-winner. She warned Park she "must not destroy or take the national records outside" the Blue House.

Tens of thousands of South Koreans crowded the streets of Seoul on Saturday, celebrating and protesting her impeachment. Three pro-Park demonstrators were killed, though one death was reportedly an accident as a speaker on a bus fell on the man's head.

In a statement, a North Korea spokesman described Park as "incomprehensible and outrageous" and her removal as a "destructive end," according to KCNA, North Korea's official state news agency.

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