Choi appeared before the Seoul Central District Court for the first formal hearing held Thursday. She was present as a defendant for numerous charges, including abuse of power and attempted fraud. Denying all allegations against her, Choi said there are many parts that are unfair to her, President Park Geun-hye's former aides An Chong-bum and Jeong Ho-seong also attended the hearing on suspicions of collaborating with Choi. They made their first public appearance since they wete taken into detention late last year.
The independent counsel team was also busy continuing its investigation into the Choi Soon-sil corruption scandal. The team questioned three key figures on Thursday, one of whom is Professor Namkoong Gon. He is accused of using his position to have CHoi Soon-sil's daughter Chung Yoo-ra admitted to Ewha Womans University. Another one is former presidential senior secretary for health and welfare Kim Jin-soo, who is alleged to be involved in supporting a controversial merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil industries in 2015. Lastly, newly appointed Vice Culture Minister Soong Soo-keun is being grilled over allegations over the so-called blacklist, which contains cultural figures who were deemed critical of the government. Meanwhile, the justice ministry says it sent extradition requests on Thursday afternoon to both the foreign affairs ministry of Korea and to the Danish government.
Seoul's defense ministry stressed that South Korea will deploy THAAD this year as scheduled. The statement comes in the wake of a trip to China by a group of South Korean lawmakers from the main opposition Democratic Party. The lawmakers are said to have discussed THAAD with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Wednesday, who repeatedly said the deployment plan should be halted.
Source: Arirang News