The Seoul Central Court to Raffle Admission Tickets for Choi Soon Sil Trial

Wesley Koo, Dec. 14, 2016, 9:10 a.m.

The Seoul Central District Court has decided to hold a raffle on Friday for admission tickets to the first hearing in the trial of President Park Geun-hye's long-time crony Choi Soon-sil.

"Because the trial is of great public interest, we will be holding a raffle to give everyone a fair chance," a court official said.

Choi was indicted last month along with former presidential secretaries An Chong-bum and Jeong Ho-seong for colluding with the president in a raft of abuses, from extortion to interfering in government business.

The trial will start on Dec. 19 at 2:10 p.m. Witnesses will include Cha Eun-taek, a flamboyant promo director and drinking buddy of Choi's who became a minor TV celebrity.

Out of 150 seats in the court, 70 have been allocated to the press, involved parties and security assigned to protect the suspects, but the remaining 80 will be open to the public.

Friday's raffle starts at 3:30 p.m. and winners will be informed by text message. People who want to take part must apply in person. But there is a strong chance that the suspects will not appear at the first hearing, whose purpose is only to plan for the upcoming sessions.

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