SEOUL – South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered on Tuesday an investigation into an alleged military intelligence plan to crush the popular protests in 2016 and 2017 against former president Park Geun-hye, who was impeached after being found guilty on corruption charges.
Moon issued the order from India, where he will be until Wednesday, the South Korean presidential office said in a statement.
Moon ordered the probe after an organization called the Military Human Rights Centre of Korea (MHRCK) submitted a document last week, which claims to prove that the Defense Security Command (DSC) proposed to declare martial law to put an end to the protests.
According to the MHRCK, the document showed that the DSC had proposed implementing an emergency law used during dictatorships to crush popular protests, and to impose martial law if the demonstrations persisted, if parliament had chosen not to impeach Park.
The DSC allegedly proposed the mobilization in Seoul of 200 tanks, 550 armoured vehicles, 4,800 armed troops and 1,400 special force members under martial law.
Moon has ordered Defense Minister Song Young-moo to form an independent commission comprising military lawyers to the investigate the allegations, according to a statement from his office.
The mass protests – which saw up to two million people in Seoul- against Park began in 2016, when the so-called “female Rasputin” corruption scandal was uncovered, and continued early March 2017, when Park was impeached for her role in the scandal.
Shortly thereafter, Park, 66, was sent to pre-trial detention and in April this year was sentenced to 24 years in prison on charges of corruption, including bribery and abuse of power, with her friend Choi Soon-sil, dubbed the Korean Rasputin due to her close friendship with Park.