Live TV footage shows a black sedan carrying disgraced former South Korean President Park Geun-hye leaving a prosecutors' office after a Seoul court approved her arrest.

Prosecutors had already said that they would indict the former president on 13 criminal charges regardless of whether the judge issued an arrest warrant.

It followed a almost nine-hour long court hearing on Thursday that the former president attended.

However, many of Park supporters protested her arrest and waved national flags as her vehicle entered the detention facility.

Park has invited the stylists - two sisters who industry sources suggest could charge 500,000 won ($450) per visit - to her private home every day since she left the presidential palace earlier this month, including when the Sewol ferry was finally lifted out of the water, prompting online jeers.

Park, 65, has denied the accusations against her.

A slew of Park supporters were awaiting Park's arrival near the detention center as if they also expected the arrest of the former leader, who had been viewed as a political icon among conservative voters. The prosecutors are expected to hurry along Ms Park's case, and to press ahead with parallel investigations into other suspects in the scandal, while other politicians campaign for the presidency. The foundations then backed the former president's policy initiatives.

Following the detention of Park, Samsung officials voiced concern that a local court in charge of the trial against Lee may not accept his allegation and the trial may be drawn out.

She is accused of colluding with Choi to receive tens of millions of US dollars in bribes from Samsung's Vice Chairman Lee.

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Ms Park's removal from office capped months of paralysis and turmoil over the corruption scandal that also landed the head of the Samsung conglomerate in detention and on trial.

Park's arrest warrant is valid until April 19, and the prosecution plans to question her further during this period.

Despite the agreement, most of the prospective candidates for May's South Korean presidential election are believed to be critical of the agreement, and Japanese officials are concerned that the country's next president may raise tensions with Japan by calling for its revision.

The Constitutional Court removed Park from office in a historic ruling on March 10, making Park the country's first president to be ousted by impeachment.

While in office, Park took a tough approach to nuclear-armed North Korea, repeatedly calling for stronger worldwide sanctions against the regime and openly urging more of its citizens to defect to the South, and Pyongyang's official organs were relatively quick to report her arrest.

The chest of Park's uniform was emblazoned with her prison number - 503 - by which she will be known during her incarceration.

She could face more than ten years in jail if convicted of receiving bribes from bosses of big conglomerates, including Samsung group chief Jay Y. Lee, in return for favours.

Both Choi and Lee have also been arrested on corruption charges.


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