World Bulletin / News Desk
Former President Park Geun-hye arrived for questioning Tuesday as prosecutors probe 13 charges against the country’s first democratically elected leader to be expelled from office.
Engulfed by a corruption scandal since late last year, Park’s parliamentary impeachment was upheld by the country’s Constitutional Court earlier this month.
The court’s decision removed presidential immunity that had allowed Park to evade investigators amid allegations of bribery, power abuse and leaking confidential documents.
“I’m sorry,” Park told reporters at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office as she promised to cooperate with investigations.
Her apology echoed previous statements and was largely for public consumption, while the atmosphere surrounding the office was a blend of support and opposition.
Pro-Park demonstrators have become increasingly vocal following months of large street demonstrations that have demanded her resignation.
Approximately 2,000 police officers were on standby to prevent clashes.
It is unclear whether prosecutors will seek an arrest warrant for the ex-president alongside other detained figures involved in the scandal, including Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong.
Park’s interrogation could last well into the night.
Opposition parties jostling for advantage ahead of a snap election May 9 to replace Park have called on her to reveal the truth.
Meanwhile, North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency pulled no punches Tuesday, describing the ousted leader as a “dictator” who had been already judged by history.
Duterte, who has faced international condemnation for his own crackdown on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives, also insisted that outsiders should not interfere in Southeast Asia's affairs.
The government's human rights commission discovered a dozen men and women packed into the tiny cell behind a wooden cabinet during an unannounced visit to a police station in a Manila slum neighbourhood on Thursday.
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Comparisons with the characters of a popular Chinese television drama called "In the Name of the People" -- which also happens to be the slogan of French far-right candidate Marine Le Pen -- have flooded China's Twitter-like Weibo.
Diplomats in Manila said the other parties apparently refer to the United States and regional powers China, Japan and South Korea -- all key strategic players in the region.
Human Rights Watch said the incident was another sign of widespread rights abuse under Duterte's war on drugs, which has seen thousands of drug suspects killed either by policemen or mysterious vigilantes.
US-led NATO troops have been at war in Afghanistan since 2001, after the ousting of the Taliban regime for refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden following the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
The two countries have been in a security alliance since the 1950-53 Korean war, and more than 28,000 US troops are stationed in the South.
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Over 2,100 civilian casualties documented in the first quarter of 2017 by the global body