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Prosecutors in South Korea seek arrest warrant for ousted President Park

A South Korean court will review prosecutors' request for an arrest warrant for ousted President Park Geun-hye. Park faced questioning last last week over a corruption and power abuse scandal that led to her impeachment.

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South Korean prosecutors seek arrest of Park

Park had her removal from office confirmed by the country's top court earlier in March, ending her executive immunity.

Prosecutors said in a statement they had "concluded that it is in line with the laws and principles to seek an arrest warrant."

"A lot of evidence has been collected so far, but as the suspect denies most of the criminal allegations, there is a possibility of her destroying evidence," the Yonhap news agency reported, quoting a prosecution statement. 

"It would be unfair not to seek a warrant considering that her accomplice Choi Soon-sil, as well as those government officials who followed her direction and the ones who gave kickbacks have all been detained," the statement added.

The Seoul Central District Court will hold a hearing on Thursday to determine whether to approve the requested arrest warrant, with a decision expected Friday. Park is expected to appear at the hearing.

Park reported for questioning last week over the graft scandal that had her impeached.

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Park is now set to face criminal charges connected to bribery, extortion and abuse of power in connection with allegations of conspiring with her friend, Choi Soon-sil. Choi and the head of Samsung are already facing criminal charges in connection with the allegations facing Park.

Park has denied wrongdoing, but could face more than 10 years in jail if convicted of receiving bribes from bosses of big conglomerates.

New elections in May

South Korea's first female president, Park was impeached by parliament in December. Her dismissal was confirmed by the country's top court earlier this month, ending the political career of a woman who grew up in the presidential palace as the daughter of army-backed dictator Park Chung-hee.

The March 10 ruling made Park South Korea's first democratically elected leader to be forced out of office since democracy replaced dictatorship in the late 1980s.

Late last year, millions of people took to the streets to demand her removal over the sprawling scandal.

Following Park's impeachment, South Korea will hold a new presidential election on May 9.

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jh/gsw (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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