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Report: South Korea judges who favored Park impeachment threatened

Angry supporters of former President Park Geun-hye say North Korea influenced the court decision.

By Elizabeth Shim
Report: South Korea judges who favored Park impeachment threatened
Supporters of former South Korean President Park Geun-hye are condemning the impeachment decision from the country’s constitutional court. Judges have received threats to their safety following the verdict, according to South Korean media. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

March 13 (UPI) -- The eight chief justices of South Korea's constitutional court who voted in favor of President Park Geun-hye's impeachment may be given security detail because they are receiving threats to their safety, South Korea media reported.

Among the judges, outgoing Justice Lee Jung-mi, who made the televised court announcement Friday, is to receive top-level protection as anger grows among Park's supporters, South Korean television network SBS reported.

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Lee, who retired from the court Monday, had asked for an end to "national divisiveness and chaos" last week.

But protesters loyal to Park have dismissed the verdict because they believe the former South Korean leader was unfairly ousted from office.

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Chung Gwang-yong, a Park loyalist, told SBS the eight justices "ignored the truth" and "sided with lies" on Monday.

Other court justices reportedly received threats and could also be given security detail – but the sources of the threats remain unconfirmed.

South Korea's police force is planning the highest level of round-the-clock protection for the judges.

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On Sunday evening as Park's motorcade made its way from the presidential Blue House to her private residence in southern Seoul, Park's supporters chanted, "Forced impeachment, invalid impeachment." Some cried as they watched Park retire to her house, News 1 reported.

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The next day, more than 20 Park supporters appeared near her residence, holding up Korean flags while loudly condemning the court decision.

Police have placed more than 320 officers on duty in the area, according to the report.

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Some supporters said North Korea influenced the outcome.

"Those people did what they did to report back to Kim Jong Un," said one outraged supporter.

Others have expressed their sadness and disappointment at rallies.

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One Park supporter in his 60s told News 1 the "president was impeached without wrongdoing," but also added, "[The decision] seems to be an order from the North."

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