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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on Jan. 4)

All News 06:52 January 04, 2017

Extradition of daughter
Chung is key to uncovering truth in bizarre scandal

The independent counsel team is doing its utmost to bring back Chung Yoo-ra, daughter of Choi Soon-sil, who was arrested in Denmark Sunday for overstaying her visa, as soon as possible. Danish authorities detained Chung, the woman at the center of the corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye, and three or more people, including a child believed to be her son, in the northern Danish city of Aalborg.

Discovering Chung's whereabouts is sure to be a green light in getting to the bottom of the bizarre scandal involving President Park and Choi. But it remains to be seen whether Chung can be extradited quickly.

The Aalborg District Court ruled that she would be detained for four weeks, according to the AFP. During the court hearing, she denied any wrongdoing and "tearfully" asked the court not to detain her, saying she was worried about her 19-month-old son.

The Korean government reportedly ordered Chung to turn in her passport in a bid to pressure her to return home and face investigation. Seoul's diplomats in Denmark met Chung in person and delivered the order. Under a relevant law, her passport will be invalid in a week, which could prompt the Danish authorities to deport Chung who will become an illegal sojourner.

But Chung's early extradition is still murky, given that Denmark could regard Chung's visa as valid even after her passport is nullified. Denmark is also reportedly in the position of deciding about her extradition after a separate legal review, although it received an official request from the Korean government.

What is encouraging is that Chung's detention might prompt Choi, President Park's longtime confidant, to change her mind. The chance is that Choi has remained tight-lipped to protect President Park, but she might begin opening her mouth to protect her daughter.

There are many reasons to quicken the process of getting Chung returned home quickly.

Of course one can be sympathetic with Chung, 20, who is in hiding abroad with her child. But the former member of the national equestrian team allegedly took advantage of her mother's relationship with President Park to get unwarranted favors from Ewha Womans University. It's no exaggeration to say that she caused even the university entrance exam, the last bastion of our fair society, to be tainted with corruption.

In addition, details of how Samsung offered favors to Choi and her daughter have not been revealed yet since all those involved in the scandal deny the accusations. Given that these are core issues related to Park's impeachment trial, the independent counsel team should step up efforts to quicken Chung's extradition in close cooperation with the Danish authorities.

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