South Korea’s disgraced ex-president Park leaves hospital after prison release

Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye left hospital on Thursday (March 24) three months after she was released from prison, where she spent nearly five years following a conviction on corruption charges.

Ms Park, 70, became the country’s first democratically elected leader to be forced from office when the Constitutional Court upheld a Parliament vote in 2017 to impeach her over a scandal that also landed the chiefs of two conglomerates, Samsung and Lotte, in jail.

“As president, I tried to work hard for the country and the people but there are many dreams that were not achieved,” Ms Park, dressed in a dark navy coat and holding a purse, told hundreds of cheering supporters after arriving at her home in the south-eastern city of Daegu.

“But those dreams are tasks for others,” Ms Park said, signalling no intention of returning to the political fray. “I will provide support so that talented people can contribute to the development of my hometown of Daegu and the country.”

Ms Park is the daughter of former dictator Park Chung-hee.

The Supreme Court last year upheld Ms Park’s sentence of 20 years in prison for colluding with a friend, who was also jailed, to receive millions of dollars from the companies, mostly to fund her friend’s family and non-profit groups.

Outgoing President Moon Jae-in granted a special pardon to Ms Park in December, citing her deteriorating health and his hopes to move past the “unfortunate history” and promote national unity.

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