South Korea’s top court orders retrial for ex-president Park
Robie de Guzman • November 28, 2019 • 251
Seoul – South Korea’s top court on Thursday ordered a retrial for former president Park Geun-hye for illegally accepting state funds after a lower court acquitted her of bribery and embezzlement.
In a separate trial to the famous “Korean Rasputin” corruption case, Park, the country’s first female president, was sentenced in July 2018 to six years in prison for illegally taking money from the National Intelligence Service (NIS).
The Supreme Court has now ordered the Seoul High Court to retry the case after an appeals court reduced her sentence from six to five years in prison by acquitting her of part of the state fund loss charge and applying a charge of embezzlement instead, the top court said in a statement.
The Supreme Court said the lower courts’ decisions to acquit Park of state fund loss and bribery charges were wrong as legal principles had been misunderstood and that she should be seen as guilty.
Park, 67, was indicted in January 2018 on charges of accepting around 3.5 billion won (about $3 million) from three NIS spy agency chiefs.
By then, the former president was already on trial for the Rasputin (Park’s confidante Choi Soon-sil) case, on account of which she was removed from office in March 2017 and subsequently sentenced to 25 years in prison.
However, this summer, the Supreme Court ordered a retrial of that case too, due to a series of technicalities.
As the two prison sentences apply consecutively, Park could be nearly 100 by the time she is set to be released.
The corruption scandals involving Park and also implicating prominent businessmen such as Samsung’s de facto leader Lee Jae-yong sparked mass protests in South Korea between 2016 and 2017 and shook the foundations of the political and economic order of the Asian country.
Conservative Park has been in custody since Mar. 2017 and is the first democratically elected South Korean head of state to have been impeached. Her dismissal led to early elections, which the liberal Moon-Jae-in won.
Choi was the alleged mastermind of the scandal that rocked South Korea and was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Feb. 2018 and ordered to pay a multi-million-dollar fine. EFE-EPA
Seoul – South Korean singers Jung Joon-young and Choi Jong-hoon were sentenced to six and five years in prison respectively on Friday for gang rapes committed in 2016.
Jung was also convicted for recording and distributing videos of himself having sex with women.
The Seoul Central District Court found that both men participated in gang rapes of women, who were unconscious or semi-unconscious, at two parties held in 2016 in Hongcheon – a city in the northeastern Gangwon Province – and in the city of Daegu, about 230 kilometers (143 miles) southeast of Seoul.
The other three people who participated in the rapes received sentences of four years, five years and eight months in prison, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
Jung, who became famous through a TV music show, received a longer sentence than Choi – former member of band FT Island- for secretly taking pictures of 10 women he had sex with and sharing them on an instant messaging group.
Some other artists from the South Korean entertainment industry were also part of this group, in which they joked about drugging and raping women.
The content of this chat group was discovered during an investigation into Seungri, a former member of the well-known band Big Bang accused of facilitating prostitution services, at a nightclub in Seoul for potential investors in his businesses in 2015.
The sentences for the two singers came a few days after the alleged suicide of K-Pop singer Goo Hara.
Before her death, her former partner, Choi Jong-bum, had threatened to publish intimate videos of her.
Another South Korean singer, Sulli, also committed suicide after facing cyber-harassment for posing topless, another example of machismo and misogyny in the South Korean music industry. EFE-EPA
The Philippines and South Korea signed five agreements on Monday (November 25) the bilateral meeting between President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
The two leaders signed agreements on tourism, social security, education, and fisheries. They also signed an anticipated free trade agreement (FTA) which is expected to be signed by 2020.
The two leaders witnessed the signing of the agreements. Among the agreements signed were:
· Agreement on social security between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the Republic of Korea. The signatories were Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. of the Republic of the Philippines and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha of the Republic of Korea
· Implementation program of the MOU on tourism cooperation between the Department of Tourism of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea, signed by Secretary of Tourism Bernadette Romulo-Puyat of the Republic of the Philippines and Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Park Yang-woo of the Republic of Korea
· Joint statement by the Republic of the Philippines and the Republic of Korea on the early achievement package of the negotiations of the Philippines-Korea free trade agreement. It was signed by Secretary of Trade and Industry Ramon Lopez of the Republic of the Philippines and Minister for Trade Yoo Myung-hee of the Republic of Korea
· Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in fisheries
· Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of education
“I assure you that the Philippines will continue to find common cause and purpose with the Republic of Korea towards enhancing our bilateral engagement and promoting peace and stability in your region,” according to Duterte.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
The Philippines and South Korea vowed on Monday (November 25) to elevate the level of their relations to strategic partnership by 2020.
During his speech at the bilateral meeting with President Moon Jae-in at The Westin Chosun Hotel, President Rodrigo Duterte said the Philippines will continue to strive hard to strengthen its relations with South Korea.
“I assure you that the Philippines will continue to find common cause and purpose with the Republic of Korea towards enhancing our bilateral engagement and promoting peace and stability in your region,” he said.
According to President Moon Jae-in the elevation of the two countries’ relationship “will pave the way for our two countries to engage in greater cooperation that will lead us to common prosperity.”
The two leaders also vowed to boost cooperation on multiple areas such as trade and investment, infrastructure development, defense, education, and tourism.—AAC
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