Ex-South Korea president appears in wheelchair at local hospital

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  Aug. 30, 2017 at 11:11 AM
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Aug. 30 (UPI) -- The former president of South Korea appeared in a wheelchair, patient gown, and an anti-pollution mask on Wednesday during a visit to a local hospital for back pain treatment.

Park Geun-hye, 65, made the rare public appearance outside prison walls during a visit to Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, local news network YTN reported.

The former South Korean leader had been complaining about a bad back at her detention center, a source at the facility told YTN.

The center brought in medical assistance, but when Park's condition did not improve she was permitted to leave prison and seek help at a local hospital, according to the report.

Park's Wednesday trip marks the second time the former president was allowed to travel outside her prison cell for medical treatment.

Yonhap reported Park was experiencing back pain before her imprisonment but the specifics of her condition are unknown.

The former leader also received dental and gastrointestinal examinations, according to the report.

On July 28, Park visited a local hospital for a toe injury, but she was transported to the facilities wrapped in covers to avoid reporters, Yonhap reported.

Park is accused of being complicit with Choi Soon-sil, the woman who may have used her friendship with the former South Korean leader to extract large donations from major companies for two foundations.

Court hearings on the case are ongoing, as well as investigations into election interference in 2012.

On Wednesday, former chief Won Sei-hoon was sentenced to four years in prison.

Won was found guilty of meddling in the 2012 presidential election.

Park won the election by a narrow margin, defeating her rival current President Moon Jae-in.

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