December 14, 2016 / 8:14 AM / 7 months ago

South Korea clinics bank on unlikely celebrity: President Park

2 Min Read

Opposition People's Party lawmaker Lee Yong-joo shows impeached President Park Geun-hye's three pictures combo each taken on May 9th, May 13th, May 19, 2014 respectively, during a hearing at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea December 14, 2016. The letters read "Is Park's bruise on her face (circled on photos) due to cosmetic filler?".Ahn Young-joon/Pool

SEOUL (Reuters) - Plastic surgery and dermatology clinics in South Korea are looking to cash in on President Park Geun-hye's enthusiasm for "aesthetic injection" treatments, including one with human placental extract, despite her deep unpopularity.

Parliament impeached Park last week, and depending on a Constitutional Court ruling in coming months, she could become the first democratically elected South Korean leader to get turfed out of office in disgrace.

But her political woes have not taken the shine off her pulling power in the beauty business.

"This is hot!," a plastic surgery clinic in suburban Seoul said in an advertisement, referring to treatment Park is known to have got at another beauty and detox clinic.

"More and more people are asking about this after reports the president received it," the clinic said in its advert.

Another advertisement for a dermatology clinic features a depiction of the presidential Blue House.

Kim Young-jae, who heads a hospital regularly visited by impeached President Park Geun-hye's longtime friend Choi Soon-sil, looks at impeached President Park Geun-hye's three pictures combo each taken on May 9th, May 13th, May 19, 2014 respectively, during a hearing at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea December 14, 2016. The letters read "The photos are comparing Park's face around May 13th".Ahn Young-joon/Pool

Plastic surgery and beauty procedures are hugely popular in South Korea.

Park's use of injection treatments, which enthusiasts say fight aging and whiten the skin, has been made public as her political problems have mounted, with her behaviour being scrutinised in parliamentary hearings into the influence-peddling scandal that led to her impeachment.

Slideshow (2 Images)

Park, 64, has been stripped of her presidential powers while the court reviews last Friday's parliamentary impeachment vote, and her approval rating has sunk to just 5 percent, according to a survey released last week.

But that has not dented her status as a role model - at least for some.

"More people are coming to get these shots since it's been known the president uses them," said a consultant at another plastic surgery clinic selling a programme of "VIP" injections, each one costing about 100,000 won (67 pounds).

"Whether you like her or not, her status as the president makes people want to follow her, like they follow Beyonce," said the consultant, who declined to be identified.

Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Tony Munroe, Robert Birsel

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