Chun’s regime cracked down on political opposition and street protests. An uprising in the city of Gwangju was brutally crushed. At least 200 people were killed. Thousands of students and other civilians disappeared behind bars.

Chun blamed opposition leader Kim Dae-jung for the uprising and sentenced him to death. This was only prevented by US intervention. Kim received a reduced sentence and was eventually released.

Repay millions of dollars

Under pressure from student protests, presidential elections were held in 1987. Chun was not a candidate, but was succeeded by his friend Roh Tae-woo, who had also been involved in the 1979 coup.

In 1995, Roh’s successor brought both his predecessors to trial for mutiny, treason and the Gwangju massacre.

Roh was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison and Chun to death, but the Supreme Court gave both ex-presidents a reduced sentence. They were released in 1997 after the then president had pardoned them.

Roh and Chun were found guilty of bribery and ordered to repay millions of dollars in illegally obtained money. Roh did, but Chun didn’t.

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