South Korea's former president Park Geun-hye apologized Friday as she walked into the office of state prosecutors for a grueling interrogation, nine days after she was expelled from office for her role in a corruption scandal.
The disgraced ex-president has stayed in her home in southern Seoul since the constitutional court upheld her impeachment on March 10. As a criminal suspect, she faces allegations of bribery, abuse of power, coercion and leak of government secrets.
"I apologize to the public," Park said in a calm, controlled voice when she stood at the photo line. "I will sincerely cooperate with prosecutors in their investigation."
Park's comments were unexpectedly short as many predicted she would try to explain or appeal that she is innocent.
Hundreds of supporters chanting her name and waving US and South Korean flags filled the streets near her home. Cries outburst from the crowd as Park wearing a dark navy coat and dark colored pants stepped out, paused just before she got into a black sedan, and gazed briefly at her enthusiastic supporters with an emotionless face. Without saying a word, she left.
At the office of prosecutors, she was met by dozens of journalists who formed a human wall in front of the building's entrance. She paused briefly again and walked toward a photo line with a grim face with camera flashes falling on her.
Park, who took office in early 2013, was impeached by parliament on December 9 at the height of anti-government protests that have seen millions of citizens taking to the streets in an unprecedented demonstration of people power.
The constitutional court accused her of betraying the confidence of voters in a historic ruling that followed months of political turmoil and a protracted leadership vacuum. The verdict set the stage for a presidential election in May.
Park Sae-jin = email@example.com