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Choi Soon-sil's daughter caught in Denmark

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By Jung Min-ho

In a screen capture from JTBC, a cable news network, Chung Yoo-ra is taken to a police vehicle after being arrested outside a house in Aalborg, Denmark, Sunday (local time).<br />/ Korea Times
In a screen capture from JTBC, a cable news network, Chung Yoo-ra is taken to a police vehicle after being arrested outside a house in Aalborg, Denmark, Sunday (local time).
/ Korea Times
The 20-year-old daughter of Choi Soon-sil was arrested in Denmark, Sunday (local time), Korean police said Monday.

According to the National Police Agency, Chung Yoo-ra and four other Koreans, including a baby born in 2015, were apprehended at a house in Aalborg, on charges of staying in the country illegally, after a journalist from JTBC, a cable news network, tipped off the local police. Police believe the baby is her son ― the identities of the other three are unknown.

The independent counsel team investigating the huge corruption scandal involving President Park Geun-hye and her confidant Choi, led by Park Young-soo, is reviewing legal procedures for her prompt extradition.

According to The Local, an English news outlet in Denmark, a court hearing took place on Monday afternoon (local time) to decide how long she will be held in custody. The Ministry of Justice in Seoul quickly requested the Danish authorities to detain her until charges are filed, which could take days.

The news follows a police request to Interpol to put her on the wanted "red list" last week after she refused to cooperate with the investigation.

Chung is suspected of receiving special favors from Ewha Womans University in admissions and grading owing to her mother's influence. It is also said Choi, by using her friendship with President Park, pressured Samsung Group to provide funds for the training of Chung who is a dressage competitor.

Investigators believe the whole process to bring her back to Korea will take two weeks at least, but it could be extended if she fights the extradition process and takes it to a Danish court.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice and police said they will work with the independent counsel team to expedite the process.

The Ministry of Education collected hard evidence of her alleged crimes through its investigation of Ewha. Based on the evidence, the school canceled her admission in November. The education office in Seoul also annulled her high school graduation the following month after confirming her grades and attendance there were also fabricated.

Lyou Chul-gyun, an Ewha professor known better by his penname Lee In-hwa, was taken into the counsel's custody for allegedly giving special favors to Chung.

The professor allegedly helped her pass his class "Understanding Movie Storytelling" last year, even though she did not attend a single lecture and failed to meet other basic requirements. Lyou is also suspected of forcing his assistants to take the final exam and online bonus-credit courses on her behalf. Investigators are now looking into what he expected in return for helping the daughter of President Park's longtime friend.

More professors are expected to be questioned by the team on similar accusations.

Chung and Choi are also suspected of receiving money from Samsung through Core Sports, which was later renamed Widec Sports, which they set up in Germany.

From September to October 2015, Samsung allegedly sent about 2.8 million euros to the shady company.

Meanwhile, Song Kwang-yong, who served as senior presidential secretary for education and culture for three months starting in June 2014, was questioned over his possible involvement in creating an alleged blacklist of thousands of artists critical of the Park administration.

Cheong Wa Dae is suspected of drawing up the blacklist containing the names of nearly 10,000 artists as well as seven media outlets in 2014, and handing it over to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, which allegedly controlled the artists through "selective financial support."

Investigators have been intensifying their probe of the list, summoning former ministers and presidential secretaries for questioning.

Jung Min-ho


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