- Title: South Korea's Park 'used starlet as pseudonym' at detox clinic
- Date: 17th November 2016
- Summary: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (FILE - OCTOBER 28, 2010) (REUTERS) VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF CHAUM CENTRE, A BEAUTY AND DETOX CLINIC THAT PRESIDENT PARK GEUN-HYE WENT TO VARIOUS OF FACILITIES AT CLINIC OF CHAUM CENTRE
- Embargoed: 2nd December 2016 09:04
- Keywords: South Korea detox clinic Korean soap opera actress Park Geun-hye Gil Ra-im Secret Garden
- Location: SEOUL AND VARIOUS FILMING LOCATIONS, SOUTH KOREA
- City: SEOUL AND VARIOUS FILMING LOCATIONS, SOUTH KOREA
- Country: South Korea
- Topics: Lawmaking,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00258U0G91
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The starlet of a TV soap became the most talked-about celebrity in South Korea recently, after a TV channel revealed that President Park Geun-hye once used her name as a pseudonym at a beauty and detox clinic, another scandalous detail to the political chaos engulfing her administration.
Gil Ra-im, the heroine of the smash hit drama "Secret Garden", became the object of parody following the report that Park used her name at the Chaum beauty and anti-aging clinic in an upscale Seoul neighbourhood.
Cable channel JTBC said late on Tuesday (November 15) that Park frequented the clinic, even after she took office in 2013. Rhie Dong-mo, president of Chaum, confirmed that Park used the pseudonym Gil Ra-im in 2011. The presidential Blue House declined to comment.
Chaum, where the enrolment fee is $130,000, offers anti-aging, detox, food therapy and spa services, according to its website.
Former co-chair of one of the main opposition parties, Ahn Cheol-soo from People's Party, said there was no end to the Park's scandals.
"Gil Ra-im has become a hot topic. She is said to have used a medical facility borrowing the name of a TV drama's lead character. Where on earth is the end of this?" Ahn Cheol-soo said at a news conference on Wednesday (November 16).
Park is under intense pressure from an angry public to step down over allegations that she allowed a friend, Choi Soon-sil, to use her closeness to her to meddle in state affairs and exert improper influence in the cultural and sports communities.
In another twist, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday (November 15) its probe of Chaum found prescriptions for an intravenous glucose and vitamin mix were issued for Park from 2012 to 2014 and a staff doctor had fabricated charts to record them as being issued for Choi and her sister.
Park is daughter of former strong man president Park Chung-hee, who in his 18 years in office crushed protests by political opponents and extended his rule with constitutional amendments. He was shot in the head and killed by his disgruntled spy chief in 1979.
Political analysts say Park's family history likely affected her behaviour.
"After 38 years of a secluded life, secrecy and being unsociable have become second nature to her, and the continuation of such a lifestyle has led to the Choi Soon-Sil crisis as a consequence. Even when she has to go to a clinic, she goes to a specific one secretly, one that she trusts and knows well, and used 'Gil Ra-im' as a pseudonym to keep her anonymity," said Choi Jin, chief of Institute of Presidential Leadership, in Seoul.
A ministry official with direct knowledge of the probe said he was not aware of Park's use of Gil's name and that there is no plan to launch a new investigation.
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