Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye was waiting on Thursday for a court's decision on whether she will be arrested in a corruption scandal that has cost her the presidency and gripped the country.
Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye, center, arrives at the Seoul Central District Court for hearing on a prosecutors' request for her arrest for corruption, in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, March 30, 2017.
(Stand-up) "And on the day before the hearing, almost all of the party's lawmakers - 82 out of 93 - submitted a petition to the court, urging it to investigate the former president without arresting her. Park Ji-won, Arirang News".
Live TV footage earlier showed a stern-looking Park entering the Seoul Central District Court building amid a barrage of camera flashes.
Scores of supporters, mostly elderly voters, waved national flags outside Park's home, chanting their opposition to her arrest.
The Seoul Central District Court earlier issued a warrant to detain Park on charges of bribery, abuse of authority, coercion and leaking government secrets, after a almost nine-hour court hearing on Thursday. Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye, left, gets off a auto upon arrival at the Seoul Central District Court for hearing on a prosecutors' request for her arrest for corruption, in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday.
Park is the first former South Korean leader put behind bars since two former military dictators were imprisoned on corruption and mutiny charges in the mid-1990s.
"Major crimes have been ascertained and there is a concern that the suspect might attempt to destroy evidence", Judge Kang Bu-young said in a text message to reporters.
If issued the arrest warrant, Park would be the third South Korean former leader to be taken into custody.
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Park is now being held in the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office, awaiting the court's decision. Prosecutors can detain Park for up to 20 days before formally charging her.
Prosecutors accuse Park of colluding with a confidante to extort from big businesses, take a bribe from one of the companies and commit other wrongdoing.
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Earlier in the morning, Park's brother Park Ji-man and his wife paid a visit to see her.
After the hearing ended, Ms Park proceeded to the prosecutor's office nearby to wait for the court's decision.
Being taken into custody would be a dramatic step in the disgrace of South Korea's first woman president, and is a key demand of the millions of people who took to the streets to protest against her as the scandal engulfed her leadership past year.
Park's powers were suspended in December after lawmakers passed an impeachment motion against her following weeks of protests by millions of people. She has denied the accusations against her. She apologised for putting trust in Choi, but said she only let her edit some of her presidential speeches and provide the president with some "public relations" help.
The former president faces more than a dozen charges connected to a massive power abuse and bribery scandal that has led to 30 other arrests, including Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong. Choi made similar statements.