Park to leave Cheong Wa Dae soon

Crowds and police gather around former President Park Geun-hye’s private home in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul, Sunday. She will move to the house two days after the Constitutional Court ruled to dismiss her over a massive corruption scandal on Friday, a presidential official said Sunday. / Yonhap

Park Geun-hye

Former President Park Geun-hye will move to her private home in southern Seoul soon, two days after the Constitutional Court ruled to dismiss her over a massive corruption scandal, a presidential official said Sunday.

Park lived in her Samseong-dong house from 1990 to 2013. She moved to Cheong Wa Dae that year, shortly before her inauguration. The house was built in 1983.

The presidential office originally planned to remodel the house before she finished her term in office next February. But she will return home earlier than scheduled, with the remodeling work just beginning.

Park’s aides said the repair work began immediately after the court ruling Friday. So far, the residential boiler at her home has been fixed and other home furnishings, such as wall papering, will likely be done by Sunday. A space where her security guards can stay is being created inside the residence, according to other sources.

As of 3 p.m., preparations for park’s relocation appeared to be in the final stage.

Workers were spotted coming in and out of the home to lay new floor paper early in the morning. Trucks loaded with new heaters, home appliances as well as technicians from high-speed Internet services were seen coming into the house later.

But as rumors of Park’s possible early return on Sunday spread, hundreds of her supporters gathered in front of the house with the national flags of South Korea and the United States in their hands.

Some 1,000-strong police forces are in place around the house to prevent possible attacks.

Drawing keen attention is whether she will issue a statement on the impeachment ruling before leaving Cheong Wa Dae.

Park has remained mum since the ruling was made. Still, it remains uncertain whether she will issue a message despite coming under mounting pressure from opposition parties to accept the dismissal as early as possible.

Some of Park’s aides forecast that she would silently move to her home, asking, “What kind of message can she give in this situation?”

The office has come under fire for still describing Park as the president of the country on its official Website and Facebook and other SNS accounts.

As of 4 p.m., the website still had photos of Park presiding over government meetings and a section for refuting various allegations concerning the corruption scandal. Park’s greetings starting with the sentence “I’m Park Geun-hye, the 18th president of the country” as well as her photo and profile remain unchanged.

Cheong Wa Dae plans to revamp its homepage soon, according to presidential officials.

The office took down the phoenix flag in front of its main building as soon as the Constitutional Court ruled to dismiss her on Friday. The flag symbolizing the president is raised when he or she is on duty at Cheong Wa Dae.

Other photos of Park hung on the walls of various buildings in the compound are also expected to be removed soon. (Yonhap)

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