World

Danes arrest woman in Korean political scandal

A South Korean citizen alerted police in Denmark about her whereabouts

SEOUL: Danish police have arrested the daughter of a woman at the centre of a South Korean influence-peddling scandal that has engulfed President Park Geun Hye, police and prosecutors said yesterday.

The scandal has led to Ms Park's impeachment by parliament on Dec 9, paralysed the government and drawn hundreds of thousands of protesters onto the streets of the capital, Seoul, for weekly demonstrations.

South Korean authorities had been seeking the arrest of Ms Chung Yoo Ra for her ties to the scandal in which her mother, Ms Choi Soon Sil, is a central figure.

"We will request an emergency extradition of Chung, working with the special prosecutor's office," Mr Lee Chul Sung, commissioner general of the Korea National Police Agency, told the media in Seoul.

Ms Chung, a 20-year-old equestrian competitor who trained in Germany, was arrested in the northern Danish city of Aalborg for staying illegally, he said.

The special prosecutor's office has said it has several charges against Chung, including criminal interference related to her academic record. It has not given details of other charges.

Mr Lee Kyung Jae, a lawyer representing both Ms Choi and Ms Chung, said the daughter would cooperate.

"When Chung Yoo Ra returns I will ensure that she fully cooperates with the special prosecution's investigation," the lawyer told the Yonhap News Agency.

A source in the special prosecutors' office in Seoul, who declined to be identified, said the office would work with European authorities to extradite Ms Chung, which could take one or two weeks.

Police commissioner general Lee said a Korean citizen had alerted Danish police about Ms Chung, who was arrested at about 4am Seoul time (3am Singapore time) yesterday.

Danish officials had four people in custody, including Ms Chung and a child born in 2015, Mr Lee said. Ms Chung is known to have a young son.

The two others in custody are men who appear to be Koreans in their late 20s or early 30s, Mr Lee said.

He said Danish police had 24 hours to secure evidence that Ms Chung was staying illegally in Denmark.

South Korea's foreign ministry has been working to invalidate Ms Chung's passport and authorities had asked German prosecutors for information on her whereabouts and financial assets.

Ms Chung won a gold medal in the group dressage equestrian event at the 2014 Asian Games.

She became a figure of public ire in South Korea last year after it emerged that she had received special treatment from the prestigious Ewha Womans University, where her admission was subsequently cancelled. 
- REUTERS

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