Ex-South Korean President Park sentenced to 24 years jail


Ex-South Korean President Park sentenced to 24 years jail

Ben McGrath

12 April 2018

Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye last week received a 24-year prison sentence and fines of 18 billion won ($16.8 million) following her conviction on 16 counts of bribery, abuse of power, and leaking state secrets. Her removal from office in 2017 and jailing are an attempt by sections of the South Korean ruling class to deflect mounting anger in the working class over falling living conditions.

Park was found guilty by the Seoul Central District Court of demanding and accepting bribes from some of South Korea’s biggest chaebols—family-owned conglomerates—including Samsung, Lotte, and SK—amounting to $23.2 billion won ($22.1 million). She was convicted of abuse of power for working with her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil to also funnel money into two foundations controlled by Choi—Mir and K-Sports.

The National Assembly impeached Park in December 2016 and the Constitutional Court removed her from office within three months. Her administration was marked by scandals over the National Intelligence Service’s interference in elections and her government’s inaction over the sinking of the Sewol ferry in April 2014 that killed 304 people, mostly high school students on a field trip.

The political parties and media are trying to paint the public hostility toward Park’s administration as simply being due to her personal incompetence and dishonesty. In fact, working class and student anger grew in response to declining social conditions and the growing danger of war, driven by the US, with North Korea.

High unemployment, particularly among youth, police attacks on striking workers, cozy relations with the chaebols, and a push to privatize public industries and further…

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