South Korea's ex-culture minister arrested

South Korea's ex-culture minister arrested

South Korea's special prosecutor has arrested a former culture minister on suspicion of abuse of authority as part of a probe into the scandal surrounding President Park Geun-hye.

Kim Jong-deok and 2 other suspects were arrested on Thursday.

They were allegedly involved in the Park administration's effort to create a list of individuals who were critical of her government or supported opposition leaders. The government cut off subsidies to the listed individuals that included film directors, actors and writers.

South Korean media called it "a black list" and reported that more than 9,000 people were on it.

At a parliamentary hearing on Monday, current Culture Minister Cho Yoon-sun acknowledged the list exists, but said she has never personally seen it.

Public criticism against the government is mounting. The list and the withdrawal of subsidies are seen as suppression of free speech.

The special prosecutor is likely to investigate whether President Park herself was involved in the creation of the list.