All eyes were on Seoul’s presidential Blue House on Saturday as South Koreans awaited ex-president Park Geun-hye’s reaction to her impeachment and preparations to move into her private residence.
An incredulous Park immediately phoned her aides to confirm the verdict, the Chosun Ilbo daily said.
Her aides told the newspaper she had no immediate plans to issue a statement on the court decision or her future course of action.
Police said more than 200 officers were deployed around the area.
Park is obliged to move out of the presidential palace, where she has been holed up for more than 90 days after the National Assembly voted for her impeachment in October.
The court’s verdict upholding her impeachment immediately stripped her of all powers and privileges, except for her security.
The ruling also stripped her of presidential immunity to criminal indictment.
“The benefits of protecting the constitution that can be earned by dismissing the defendant are overwhelmingly big. Hereupon, in a unanimous decision by the court panel, we issue a verdict: We dismiss the defendant, President Park Geun-hye.”
Lee accused Park of colluding with Choi to extort tens of millions of dollars from businesses and letting Choi, a private citizen, meddle in state affairs and receive and look at documents with state secrets.
Those allegations were previously made by prosecutors, but Park has refused to undergo any questioning, citing a law that gives a sitting leader immunity from prosecution.
It is not clear when prosecutors will try to interview her.
Park has already been named a criminal suspect, accused of bribery for offering policy favours to firms that benefited Choi.
For months she has refused to make herself available for questioning by prosecutors probing the scandal.
But that may no longer be an option once she leaves the Blue House, when she could face formal arrest if she refuses a summons.
Police issued a statement vowing to track down and punish unruly protestors as pro-Park supporters planned to hold fresh demonstrations near the Constitutional Court and in the city centre on Saturday afternoon.
Source: News agencies