South Korean Dressage Rider & Daughter of Central Figure in Presidential Impeachment Detained in Denmark

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Chung Yoo-ra (in helmet) on the medals podium at the 2014 Asian Games. © www.horsemovethailand.com/FEI
Chung Yoo-ra (in helmet) on the medals podium at the 2014 Asian Games. © www.horsemovethailand.com/FEI

Jan. 2, 2017

Chung Yoo-ra, a member of South Korea’s gold medal team at the 2014 Asian Games who has been sought for questioning in President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment proceedings, has been detained by Danish police, the New York Times reported Monday.

Chung Yoo-ra is the daughter of Choi Soon-sil, the longtime confidante of the South Korean president who was impeached last month after allegations of trading political favors for cash.

The 21-year-old Yoo-ra, the Times quoted authorities, “has been living in hiding in Europe,” where she has been training in Germany. She was detained in Aalborg, in northern Denmark.

Results show that the 20-year-old competed extensively at small tour throughout Europe this summer on three different horses, including Royal Red, her Asian Games team mount. Her last event was Darmstadt. Germany in September.

Her mother has been indicted on charges of using her influence with the president to extort tens of millions of dollars from big businesses.

“Ms. Chung was holed up with her infant son, a nanny and two male guardians in a house in the northern Danish city of Aalborg when the local authorities found her on Sunday night,” the newspaper quoted the South Korean news channel JTBC, which said its reporters first alerted the authorities to her whereabouts.

“We will request her emergency extradition, working with the special prosecutor’s office,” Lee Chul-sung, the chief of the National Police Agency, told a news conference in Seoul, the South Korean capital, on Monday.

The Danish police said on Monday that they made the arrest after receiving a tip from a South Korean journalist Sunday afternoon and confirmation from the international law enforcement agency Interpol that an international warrant for her arrest had been registered last Tuesday.

Police said that Ms. Chung had not been charged with a crime in Denmark, but prosecutors said they had asked the court to keep Ms. Chung in custody while the question of possible extradition was clarified. South Korea and Denmark have an extradition treaty.

Accusations include that her mother extorted funds from Samsung, South Korea’s largest conglomerate, to finance her dressage career and a luxurious lifestyle in Germany. After Ms. Chung lost a gold medal to a rival in a domestic competition in 2013, her family was accused of using its connections to open a government audit of the local equestrian association.