Constitutional Court to announce impeachment verdict on Friday

"We will dispatch enough police forces to the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, the Constitutional Court and the National Assembly". She could be interrogated by prosecutors seeking to indict her on criminal charges.

Firms involved include Samsung Group, whose heir Lee Jae-Yong has denied any wrongdoing. The state of alert will go into effect on Thursday and last until Saturday. Park would then be subject to indictment and detention as she loses the immunities as head of state. Now there are eights judges left on the court as Chief Justice Park Han-chul stepped down when his term expired in January. Bae Bo-yun, the court's press secretary, stated that the court had chose to return its decision on Park's impeachment trial at 11 am on March 10 and that it had informed the prosecutors from the National Assembly and Park's attorneys about the date of the sentencing.

On 20 November, Ms Choi was charged with various offences, including abuse of authority, coercion, attempted coercion and attempted fraud, leading to the wider investigation.

South Korean politics has also been stirred with the possibility of a snap election called within 60 days if Park is ousted.

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The anti-Park rallies have been mostly peaceful, but some protesters said their "candles will turn into torches" if the court refuses to uphold Park's impeachment.

The Constitutional Court has been racing against the clock to make its decision. She lived in the presidential Blue House - where she has been holed up during this scandal - from age 11. Even today, Park wears an old-fashioned hairstyle reminiscent of her mother's. During this time she became close to Choi Tae-min, the founder of a religious cult that incorporated elements of Christianity and Buddhism, who would "deliver messages" to Park from her dead mother, according to local reports.

The 65-year-old conservative president was elected in 2012 partly thanks to the popularity of her father and late army dictator, Park Chung-Hee.

Special prosecutors, who had investigated the corruption scandal embroiling President Park for 70 days, identified Park as an accomplice to her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil for multiple charges including bribery. The never-married Park campaigned on her inability to be corrupted, saying the fact that she had no children and was estranged from her siblings meant there was no one to bribe.

  • Adam Floyd