SEOUL – Former South Korean president Park Geun-hye was arrested and driven to a detention centre south of Seoul after a court approved her arrest on Thursday.
The 65-year-old is accused of allowing her close friend Choi Soon-sil to extort money from companies, including Samsung, in return for political favors. She denies the claims.
Ms Park was dismissed from Presidency when the constitutional court upheld a decision by parliament in December to impeach her.
She is the third former president of South Korea to be arrested over criminal allegations, Yonhap reports.
“It is justifiable and necessary to arrest [Ms Park] as key charges were justified and there is risk of evidence being destroyed,” the The Seoul Central District Court said in a statement.
Live television footage showed a black sedan carrying her to the detention facility from the prosecutor’s office where she had been waiting.
Ms Park can be held for up to 20 days before being formally charged. If convicted she could face more than 10 years in prison.
Hwang Kyo-ahn, who is loyal to Ms Park, is now the acting president and an election is to be held by 9 May.