South Korea MPs Probing Park’s “Missing Hours”

South Korea MPs Probing Park’s “Missing Hours”South Korea MPs Probing Park’s “Missing Hours”

South Korean MPs are holding a hearing to investigate why impeached President Park Geun-hye went “missing” during a major ferry disaster in 2014—the latest trouble to hit the pressured leader.

Seven hours elapsed between the first news reports that a ferry carrying hundreds of children was sinking off the nation’s southern coast in April 2014 and her first TV appearance that day.

The tragedy, which claimed the lives of 304 people, many of them teenagers from one high school, continues to gnaw at the nation’s consciousness, especially because a rescue effort was widely seen as botched.

According to Aljazeera, a lack of information on Park’s whereabouts and actions at the time has fuelled conspiracy theories. The theories have reemerged during an investigation into an influence-peddling scandal that looks likely to bring down her presidency. A parliamentary panel looking into the allegations is holding a hearing specifically on the missing seven hours and the incident was included by parliament in a motion to impeach Park earlier this month.

Last month, more than two years after the disaster, Park’s office published a page on its website detailing what reports the president received and when, on the day of the sinking.

“We’ve repeatedly explained, two years ago and since then, that she had been receiving reports about the Sewol incident all throughout the day and gave instructions either by phone or written reports,” Kim Dong-jo, a Blue House spokesman, told Reuters before the hearing.

The official timeline details exactly when Park received reports or gave orders. The timeline, though, does not reveal where Park was or what she was doing as she gave those orders.

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