Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s Ousted President, Gets 24 Years in Prison

The corruption scandal that ended Ms. Park’s presidency exposed the collusive ties between South Korea’s government and conglomerates like Samsung.

Comments: 83

  1. So, what are WE waiting for?

  2. Depressing. The one good thing about having a billionaire as our president? You can't bribe him.

  3. We need a sarcasm font.

  4. Trump is a "wannabe billionaire". That's what makes him even more dangerous and prone to corruption. Putin knew and used that quiet well.

  5. he's not a billionaire. not even close. that just another one of his BIG LIES.

  6. One can only dream of our country following the suit when Muller exposes collusive ties (be it political or financial) between Trump & Co and the Russians. Park Guen-hye had no option to pardon herself, which, as one hears, has been considered by Trump regarding those close to him or, more incredulously, himself. No functioning democracy has this option available to it except for us. And that is what I call American exceptionalism...

  7. "...guilty of coercing the three companies — and 15 other businesses — into making donations worth $72 million to two foundations controlled by Ms. Choi." Sound familiar to anyone? Yea, it sure does to me.

  8. Maybe it could happen here. We can always hope.

  9. Living proof that ousting criminals posing as leaders can be done. Let us be next.

  10. Not the law makers nor the media made the result in Korea but it was the average people who demonstrated for weeks. Peaceful demonstrations without any arrests or even a trash was left behind. The people devoted their time and effort. They were active and didn't wait for something to happen from someone else. With 77.2 % voting rate (2017), the Koreans are politically active and they deserve their hard-won democracy. Can Americans also make their individual efforts and sacrifices for the country?

  11. No such thing as democracy in South Korea. Most of their former leaders have been arrested or even committed suicide while under investigation, ever since they have been ruled by military generals. Now it more like mob rule.

  12. We did, we elected trump.

  13. If we held our politicians in the US to the Korean level of accountability for corporate influence and venality, we would make every statehouse and mansion in the country a penitentiary. The Koreans just haven't learned yet how to make corruption legal with "lobbying" like we have. I hope they never do.

  14. Sure wish our country at South Korea's legal system---as this point, based on the Ms. Geun-hye's violations, Trump would be doing time already.

  15. I cant wait to read a similar headline about Donald Trump

  16. There's a lot about South Korea that is very very impressive. When you consider where they were in the 1950's and where they are now, the transition is dazzling almost beyond belief. And the US can take a lot of credit in helping this along, including perhaps feeling some chagrin for a culture that at times seems overly materialistic. But one can't but be encouraged by a nation which overthrows corruption and replaces it with a government that seems genuinely working in the interest of its citizens. I hope the prospects for similar changes in the United States prove to be real!

  17. Former president of Brazil has just been ordered to prison for corruption. Will Trump be next?

  18. It really us time for this in America. America is run by Robber Barons who need to be punished.

  19. The USA should take note of the repercussions of corruption in upper government and act upon them just as S Korea did! Trump should (upon conviction) be put in prison for 20 years! He has all but destroyed the very fabric of unity in our nation!

  20. Lucrative business contracts going to friends and supporters while businesses make huge donations to non profit foundations? Are you sure this article isn’t about the US? I’m glad the accused is being held responsible with a stern punishment so that similar things will not happen again. Yeah, right!

  21. Wouldn't it be nice to see Trump and his criminal mob behind bars for 24 years?

  22. If the South Korean's only had a corrupting influence like the Trump presidency, and a enabling majority political party like the Republicans, Park Geun-hye would have no problems whatsoever.

  23. South Korean Presidents, Kim Dae Jung, Kim Youngsam, Roh Myhyun were fine after retirement (that is, they did not commit crimes in office.) The ones who abused power, accepted bribes, extorted money out of businesses, or killed own citizens: Chun Doowhan, Roh Taewoo, Lee Myungbak, and Park Geunhye ... these criminals are legitimately punished by law, sentenced to prison, and ordered to pay back the wealth that they illegally accumulated. USA has to learn to act like a democratic country. We did not punish any former president no matter how badly they broke the law in office, grave corruption and abuse of power. Criminals were left unaccounted and they were/are all fine. The sentence on Park Geunhye says: "A history that is not remembered is bound to be repeated," ... this should be what the American people should learn. Hold all (former) presidents to account for their crimes in office. We should have punished Richard Nixon, locked him up for decades for seriously breaking the law. We should now make sure we punish Trump for all his illegal actions. The rule of law must work on ex-presidents as well as on ordinary citizens. We should lock Trump up for decades after he is found guilty for abuse of power, excessive corruption, and conspiracy with a foreign enemy.

  24. Not only if South Korea ahead of us in electing a female president, they are also paving the way in impeaching and imprisoning one.

  25. Unprecedentedly, the judge, Kim Se-yoon, avoided using unfamiliar legal term and tried to explain the terminologies with colloquial expressions in his adjudication, presumably conscious of being exposed to the public via the live stream.

  26. Note some of the protest sighs are made in a sigh shop and are in ENGLISH,? Why would they be in English for Koreans?

  27. Those are the people who worship the US as the God's country and demand that Korea become the 51st state. They are fervent supporters of Trump and Fox News while calling Moon and Clinton communists to be executed. The flag-waving troop can be easily identified by their cap/hat and sunglasses as well as their ages. Hope that helps..

  28. In Seoul, English is almost a second language. I've witnessed a pro Park demonstration - some people had signs in English, and some people waved American Flags next to South Korean Flags.

  29. Because they want the international media to pick up on it, which they have - as is the case in many, many protests all around the world.

  30. We do not know, at least most American citizens do not know the basic politics and legality and accusations of this criminal charge brought about against South Korea's president. Many assume it is similar to a trial by law and corruption relative to our democratic and legally regulated country, however that is beyond absurd. In the United States, I would assume a president would be under an investigation, and a trial with decisions made by the supreme court. as in our last impeachment trial of President Clinton. However, he was impeached, yet not sentenced to 24 years in prison. To me, this seems to vague for me to have an honest opinion other than, it seems harsh and sudden. And suspiciously convenient.?

  31. The Clinton impeachment did not end in conviction so, of course, he received no punishment.

  32. Why is it 'absurd' to think that a liberal democracy other than the USA would hold a properly legal trial? It is 'harsh and sudden' for you, it isn't for those protesters, the people of that country, the foreigners who read about her original impeachment months ago, or the judges deliberating on the decision.

  33. Ain't capitalism grand?

  34. We woldn't have any government officials if we went this far. It's normal in the US.

  35. South Korea, Brazil, maybe the US next?

  36. What she did was nothing compared to the Trump Administration. He would probably get several 100 year sentences, at least.

  37. Governing should be about the Peoples' interests, not individual interests of those in office. The near future in the US will tell us a great deal about where our country is headed, and whether we possess the courage – along with members of the US House and Senate – to take control of our Government and demand accountability. Or whether we prefer to whistle in the graveyard of personality cults.

  38. The US has made buying influence legal, Korea has not.

  39. Trump said, 24 years? I'll do a couple hundred years. Nobody's better at going to jail than I am, believe me. And i'll get Mexico to pay for it!

  40. Ha! If only.

  41. This article is not about Trump. Please, for the love of god, put your obsessions aside. Every comment section about nearly every subject is eventually turned into another opportunity to trash the tiny-handed one. We are not the center of the world. Broaden your outlook please.

  42. The New York Times comment section is all Trump, all the time.

  43. With Trump and Bolton threatening to “bloody the nose” of Little Rocket Man in a strike that could reign terror on millions of South Koreans, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near that country any time soon. But I sure do envy them for what must seem like like a breath of fresh air after ridding themselves of a corrupt, unsocialized president. And 24 years! What a difference from the U.S. where a fine for corruption is a really big deal.

  44. Interesting. Perhaps the kakistocratic kleptocracy of The Donald will also be held accountable?

  45. If there is any justice in the world, this is what should happen to Trump and his family members in the White House. Trump has committed far worst crimes than this ousted President! Where is our justice in the USA? Where is the rule of law? No one should be above the law!

  46. Don't hold your collective breaths waiting for the same thing to happen to our Dearest Leader. The US has yet to, after 220 years, develop the legal/political culture that Brazil and South Korea have developed in less than 50 years.

  47. And the Samsung family walks. Gee, what a surprise.

  48. For what are we waiting?

  49. Exactly! Move to S.korea already!

  50. 'The former president was also found guilty of abusing her power to help Ms. Choi and her associates win lucrative business contracts from big businesses, and of blacklisting artists, writers and movie directors deemed unfriendly to her government, excluding them from state support programs.' Sound familiar? Look at our present administration officials (DeVos, Pruitt, and SO many others) doing exactly the same thing. Sadly, nothing will happen to these liars, thieves - they won't ever be touched as long as the Republican Party is in control. Corruption fuels the GOP. Period.

  51. One South Korean export that we need SOON!

  52. If only our corrupt American president & his political appointees like Pruitt could end this way. Sad

  53. And Obama too.

  54. M&M, that's just trolling & silly. It's one thing to disagree on Obama's policies but Trump was a shady con man long before he became the alt right darling he is now. His history of playing lose with the truth and cheating employees, contractors and investors would make him toxic if he ran as a phony liberal instead of a phony conservative. But you go on believing it warms the racists hearts.

  55. See boys and girls, no one citizen is above the law ... well in South Korea at least!

  56. Ms Park's father was assassinated by political opponents when she was 7 year old. Ms. Park's mother assassinated when she was 22 by a N. Korean agent. Those experiences left her damaged, and highly insecure. In the US, her lawyers would have pleated for extenuating circumstances.

  57. Her father was a military dictator for 17 years. When she was elected she pushed to e tend term limits that were put in place to prevent dictatorial rule. I’m not an expert here and I certainly don’t have the full picture but I just wanted to balance your message a bit.

  58. corrections: Her father was assassinated by his own man (CIA director) when she was 27. Her mother was assassinated by a North Korean sympathizer when she was 22.

  59. Can’t wait to see the Trump and Kushner crime families in their orange jumpsuits in handcuffs being given long jail terms - justice served.

  60. “Bribes to foundations she controlled” — Isn’t that kind of the way the Clinton Foundation worked?

  61. No thats how Trump, Bush and Reagan worked. The Clinton only dodged taxes but the bribes never happened. It would easily be tracked since they are a non-profit. The Bush's directly supported their stock investment many times including during the Exxon valdez spill (they held partnership stake in Exxon) and later with the war on Iraq where they profited in the sum of billions thanks to increases in oil prices and by protecting shell oil interests. Reagan implemented supply side economics which turned him and his ilk into the modern style oligarchs. He benefited greatly from his policies knowing fully that the policies would eventually destroy the middle class and small business.

  62. No. It isn't.

  63. South Koreans are exercising their freedoms and are protecting their democracy, whereas you are exercising only your freedom to live fact-free. Unfortunately, that condition is all too common in the US nowadays.

  64. Ah, South Korea, a legal model for the Unites States!

  65. Clearly didn't bribe the right people.

  66. This is a very important story. A significant threshold appears to have been crossed, particularly when this is viewed in the context of the global turmoil we're experiencing. I was hoping to find some enlightened, informative comments by knowledgeable readers about this rather important development. Maybe about what it says about Korean capitalism and chaebol going forward in the new economic era that we're all entering. Or what seems to be a profound generation gap in South Korea, including about reunification, and what that will mean as SK adapts to the whiplash-inducing societal changes that are coming in the coming decade for all of us. I was disappointed. The snark about Trump is just so tiresome. And repetitive. And utterly vapid.

  67. South Korea has an unique democracy. Recently 4 presidents have been indicted for corruption. One under investigation committed suicide a few years ago. They really are the Republic of Samsung, which owns just about everything in the country. My surprise is how they jail their former presidents and role out the red carpet for the North's Kim family.

  68. It's sad to see South Korean presidents either go to jail or commit suicide after they are dethroned. This cycle of political retaliation got to stop. It just looks bad.

  69. If she was a man, there would have been no jail time. Look at the Samsung case. He was considered too valuable to be sent to prison.

  70. Was Justice served is the question?

  71. Notice how only the corrupt human politician gets tried and punished. The corrupting conglomerate corporations, knowing parties to the criminal conspiracy, don't even get criticized or fined, let alone see their officers incarcerated. By tolerating this kind of corporate behavior the Koreans are perpetuating it, just like we do. Duke Cunningham went to jail but the Defense contractor companies that bribed him got a slap on the wrist and are still doing business with DoD today. Why not have a Corporate Death Penalty for PAYING the bribes?

  72. She is 66 years old. If she serves full term, she will be 90. She should serve her full term. Any ex president should serve his full term even if he dies in prison. People in power should be held to a higher standard than are ordinary people. Therefore, they should always serve the full term. Donald J. Trump, wait for your turn.

  73. I had spent much time in Korea and honestly believe that being a woman, Ms. Park would sccumb to the nasty politics of South Korea. First she was a single woman. Second was her closest friend and confidant, was another woman. In Korea's male dominated society, it is unnacceptable. Most male presidents have taken much more in bribes with hardly a slap on the hand. They even blamed this poor worman for the sinking of a ferry that killed hundreds, while she was sleeping.

  74. Even though she and her aid are corrupt, 24 years seems pretty harsh. Yet it is also understandable considered how much won (South Korean currency) she embezzled with the help of her aide Choi.

  75. I don't think she deserved 24 years in prison. S. Korea is still very much patriarchal country, especially in politics. S. Korean men can't stand women being in charge. Something still fishy about her case, both defendants are women and she keeps saying she was "set up". Even if she was slightly guilty, she doesn't deserve this. When it comes to the justice system, S. Korean justice system is so 3rd world. Just recently, a man sexually and physically assaulted his girlfriend for wanting to break up. He dragged her unconscious body around like it was some trash. Yet, he just stayed a couple days in jail and let go which caused her to escape to a remote countryside where he can't find her. Even murderers get only 5-7 yrs in jail even 3yrs in S.K. If the murder is someone in power or connected to a powerful person, they just get a probation and move to a different country and enjoy life like they've done nothing wrong. So, I really think that their main "crime" is being women in S. Korea and involved in its politics.

  76. 24 years?!...BLIMEY! If 24 years is what you get for abuse of power, bribery and coercion at her level of involvement,I wonder how much time at the Trump/Kushner levels?! They make PGH look like an amateur. First, Brazil's ousted not 1,not 2,BUT 3 Presidents in the last decade and a half. SK followed suit with this...America,are you paying attention? Congress, will you still sit idly?

  77. Corrupted Korean bit, go to jail. Bravo, call Donald Trump for consolation, consultation! ha ha

  78. South Korean corruption of this sort has been around 30 years. I wonder if the female face is what finally drew the wrath of the nation.

  79. We can learn a lot about how to deal with corrupt Presidents from South Korea.

  80. I was working that night(AFSSO), when her father; President Pak was assasinateded. A couple of years in The Land of Morning Calm has displayed the same "crimes" attributed to this woman, are SOP for males. Simply electing a "woman as president" was extraordinary and hated.

  81. The beginning of the end of democracy as we know it in South Korea. China and Kim Jung Un can set back and wait this one out.

  82. In her own right, is she a capable leader/person? If yes, how if her experience--good and bad--is used to develop proper patriotic and civic attitude, especially among the youth through "brain-storming" groups all across the nation? It may help create more honest leaders, including presidents. Is this difficult for an industrially advanced country, with its ancient traditions and culture? (The Chaebol should bear the cost of such a creative, constructive, on-going "national movement"! It would be a real act of justice!!)

  83. How sad to destroy this lady.