Samsung corruption scandal gets South Korean president impeached

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The court's acting chief judge, Lee Jung-mi, said Park had violated the constitution and law "throughout her term" and, despite the objections of the legislature and the media, had concealed the truth and cracked down on critics.

Will Park Geun-hye's exit reshape South Korea's relationship with China and North Korea? Park was also accused of neglecting her duties during the 2014 Sewol ferry sinking that killed more than 300, but the judges said the charge did not warrant deliberation by the court.

An independent investigator claims the former president was an accomplice to Choi in attempting to extract 43bn won (£30.9m) from the technology giant, saying the two friends "shared economic interests", the Korea Herald reports. The Justice Party urged the Constitutional Court to safeguard the Constitution by upholding the motion, as the country could enter a new era.

The South Korean leader, Park Geun-hye, "had one more year left as "president" but, now she's been ousted, she will be investigated as a common criminal", North Korea's state KCNA news agency reported.

The South's bitter rival North Korea is pushing ahead with its nuclear programme, while relations with China are strained over the THAAD US missile-defence system now being rolled out in South Korea.

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Anti-Park protesters gathered outside the Constitutional Court ahead of the Friday ruling.

Park's legal team has said the case is politically motivated, but the president has repeatedly apologized. Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn will stay in office in the interim.

Park also now has the dubious distinction of being the nation's first democratically elected leader to be expelled from the Blue House. Hereupon, in a unanimous decision by the court panel, we issue a verdict: "We dismiss the defendant, President Park Geun-hye".

Park's parliamentary impeachment in December came after weeks of Saturday rallies that drew millions who wanted her resignation. "Extreme conflict, strife and disobedience of the stern ruling will only lead to catastrophe", read a statement from Archbishop Kim Hee-joong of the Catholic Church in South Korea. As long as she remains president, she is immune from prosecution.

Police provided no details of the circumstances of the second death, but earlier on Friday afternoon a local hospital official said that a man in his 70's had died from head wounds after falling from a police bus in front of South Korea's Constitutional Court.