Seoul court extends ex-president's detention

Former President Park Geun-hye walks into a courthouse in southern Seoul on Oct. 13 2017 to stand trial for bribery and abuse of power

A South Korean court on Friday made a decision to extend the detention of impeached President Park Geun-hye who has been in custody and stood trial over corruption charges including bribery.

Park will be detained for another six months as her previous arrest warrant is set to expire on Monday.

Former President Park Geun-hye walks into a courthouse in southern Seoul on October 13, 2017, to stand trial for bribery and abuse of power. She stands accused of colluding with her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil in taking some 43 billion won (US$37 million) from top conglomerates, including Samsung, and letting her friend meddle in state affairs.

Choi has also been detained for months while on trial for multiple charges including coercion and bribery.

The court has held 80 trial sessions for Park's case since May - four sessions every week since June. There are about 300 more witnesses to call in, including the heads of LG Group, GS and Hanjin Group. It is not certain whether a ruling on Park can be reached within this year.

She was taken into custody in March after the constitutional court approved her impeachment over a corruption scandal.

But the scandal that emerged late past year unleashed nationwide fury, even among many of her conservative supporters.

Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong had his first appeal trial on Thursday.

Lee was sentenced in August to 5 years in prison after being convicted of a string of crimes, including bribery, embezzlement and perjury.

Park, in return for the bribes, is suspected of pressuring the nation's state-run pension agency to back the 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates, which was seen as a vital step for Lee to tighten his control over the conglomerate.

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