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(LEAD) Constitutional Court asks police to locate Park aides

All News 20:23 January 06, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with delivery of search request in paras 1-2, 5-6; CHANGES headline; MINOR EDITS)

SEOUL, Jan. 6 (Yonhap) -- The Constitutional Court asked the police Friday to locate two former aides to President Park Geun-hye following their absence from her impeachment trial, officials said.

The court filed the request with the respective police stations in Seoul's Jongno and Gangnam Wards, where the aides are registered to live, suspecting they fled to avoid giving testimony in court.

The aides -- former presidential secretary for administrative affairs Lee Jae-man and former presidential secretary for public relations Ahn Bong-geun -- were scheduled to testify in court Thursday during the second formal hearing of Park's impeachment trial.

But the court failed to deliver their summonses, as neither could be contacted or found at their registered addresses all week. By law, witnesses who have not received a summons cannot be punished for failing to show up for a scheduled hearing. The court rescheduled the session for Jan. 19.

Officers assigned to the two stations will move swiftly to locate the witnesses, a police official said.

The court has also sent summonses to their addresses, according to a court official.

This image shows Lee Jae-man (L) and Ahn Bong-geun with the Constitutional Court in the background. (Yonhap)

Lee and Ahn are suspected of helping Park's confidante, Choi Soon-sil, enter the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae without security checks and access confidential documents despite having no government post.

Choi has been accused of abusing her ties to the president to extort money from conglomerates and gain other personal favors. Park was impeached by the National Assembly on Dec. 9 on suspicion of colluding with Choi.

The court has until early June to decide whether to unseat or reinstate Park.


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