Chung’s appeal to stay in Denmark denied by court

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Chung’s appeal to stay in Denmark denied by court

Chung Yoo-ra, daughter of Choi Soon-sil who is at the center of the power abuse and corruption scandal engulfing the presidency of Park Geun-hye, appealed to a local high court in Denmark against the extension of her detention, only to be dismissed.

Chung, 20, was arrested in the northern city of Aalborg, Denmark, on Sunday for overstaying her visa. She was sentenced on Monday by a local court to be detained until Jan. 30. Her appeal to a local high court was dismissed on Tuesday.

The independent counsel investigating the Choi-gate scandal said it will expedite the process to extradite Chung.

“Since her appeal was dismissed, the counsel will expedite the process to extradite her, starting with filing for extradition to the Ministry of Justice today,” said Lee Kyu-chul, spokesman for the independent counsel, in a press conference on Wednesday. “But if she chooses to do so, she can return to Korea on her own accord.”

If Chung chooses to file a lawsuit for protection against extradition, the legal process to extradite her could be prolonged.

Yoo Seom-na, eldest daughter of Yoo Byung-eun, the late patriarch of the family behind the operator of the doomed Sewol ferry, was arrested in France in 2014, but has not yet been extradited. A local court in France ruled in 2016 that Yoo must be extradited, but she has filed another case to the European Court of Human Rights and has not returned to Korea.

Critics question whether Chung will be extradited before the tenure of the independent counsel ends on Feb. 28, as designated by the Act on the Appointment, etc., of Special Prosecutor.

“Chung has a child,” Lee said. “While the process to extradite her goes on in Denmark, she will have to remain detained. I do not think she will choose to remain separated from her son there. There is a chance she will choose to return to Korea on her own accord.”

Chung was arrested with four more people on Sunday, including her 19-month-old son. Her extended detention in Denmark keeps her separated from her son.

Chung is accused of receiving unjust admission to and preferential treatment at Ewha Womans University, and is also central to the probe into the corruption scandal involving the Korea Equestrian Federation and Samsung Electronics.

Samsung pledged 22 billion won ($18.3 million) for Chung’s equestrian training. It was also the largest benefactor of two nonprofit foundations that Choi practically controlled, contributing 20.4 billion won.

Chung denied her charges to a group of Korean reporters on Monday and blamed them all on her mother.

Despite her alleged involvement in the corruption scandal, Chung is drawing the attention of netizens not only with her arrest and detention in Denmark, but also with her fashion.

“Chung Yoo-ra jacket” was the No.1 most-searched phrase on Korea’s top portal website Naver on Wednesday afternoon. The photos of Chung right after her capture in Aalborg on Sunday, and another of her returning to her detention center in Denmark after her trial on Monday, showed Chung wearing a grey-colored jacket.

Netizens quickly jumped to the conclusion that the jacket is one made by Nobis, a Canada-based luxury clothing brand, and the same one worn by actress Jun Ji-hyun in the 2013 TV series “My Love from the Star.” The jacket is reported to cost some $704.

One Twitter user posted on Wednesday, “Do you really want to wear the jacket that Chung wears?” while others defended their reason for the interest.

“I think some people just want to find out how much money Chung spends on her clothes,” another user posted.

Chung was ordered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday to return her passport by Jan. 9 or face forced cancellation of it by the next day.

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

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