SEOUL: Two plastic surgeons who treated ousted South Korean president Park Geun-Hye — including one who injected her with human placenta extracts — and three other people were convicted on Thursday in connection with the scandal that brought her down.
The guilty verdicts are the first in the wide-ranging scandal that embroiled the country for months and culminated in Park’s dismissal.
Kim Sang-Man, who gave the former president the placenta injections, was fined 10 million won ($9,000) for faking medical records whenever he secretly treated her.
Another plastic surgeon, Kim Young-Jae, was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence for perjury for telling a parliamentary hearing that he had never given Park cosmetic treatments, when he later admitted giving her botox injections.
Park was renowned for her meticulous attention to her appearance, maintaining an elaborate hairstyle and refusing to be seen by others without undergoing an hour-long daily routine at the hands of her stylists.
The two doctors testified that they had visited Park at her residence for years, often without the presence or knowledge of the presidential medical team.
Park was removed from power in March after the massive corruption and influence-peddling scandal prompted millions to take to the street calling for her ouster, pushing lawmakers to impeach her.
She is awaiting trial for offering policy favours to business tycoons, including Samsung heir Lee Jae-Yong, who bribed her secret confidante, Choi Soon-Sil, who is also on trial for bribery.
Choi, daughter of a shady religious figure who was also close to Park, wielded enormous power over Park from her daily wardrobe choice to nomination of top officials.
A state probe revealed Park secretly sought questionable cosmetic treatments from doctors who were linked with Choi but were not part of the presidential medical team.
The Seoul Central District Court also sentenced Kim Young-Jae’s wife to a year in prison for bribing Park’s top economic advisor in exchange for policy favours for her business.
Another doctor linked to Choi was jailed for a year for perjury during the parliamentary probe, and a fourth medic received a suspended term.
A snap election held on May 9 saw a left-leaning former human rights lawyer, Moon Jae-In, elected as president.
Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2017