Cult Leader's Daughter Arrested Amid Korea Crisis

Officials fear she might flee the country or destroy evidence
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2016 1:02 AM CDT
Cult Leader's Daughter Arrested Amid Korea Crisis
Choi Soon-sil, a cult leader's daughter with a decades-long connection to South Korean President Park Geun-hye, arrives at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016.   (Seo Myung-gon/Yonhap via AP)

(Newser) – Choi Soon-sil, the cult leader's daughter at the heart of the political scandal engulfing South Korea, said Monday that she "deserves death." She was arrested instead. Reuters reports that Choi, who is accused of using her close ties to President Park Geun-hye to profit from influencing government policy, was detained late Monday and held overnight before a second day of questioning Tuesday. According to South Korea's Yonhap news agency, Choi was placed under emergency detention because she is in "an extremely unstable psychological state" and prosecutors fear she might destroy evidence or flee the country.

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Choi's father founded the Church of Eternal Life sect and had close ties to Park's father, who was South Korea's president for 18 years after seizing power in a 1961 coup. Her own friendship with Park goes back decades. Park, whose single term in office ends next year has admitted that Choi was allowed to edit certain speeches and advise her on PR, the BBC reports. On Monday afternoon, a man who told police he wanted to help Choi die drove a heavy construction vehicle into the Supreme Prosecutors' Office building in Seoul, smashing the entrance and injuring a security guard. (Read more South Korea stories.)

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