Seoul's Missing Mayor Park Found Dead After Massive Search

Elias Hubbard
July 11, 2020

A Seoul police officer confirmed early Friday that the body of the mayor, Park Won-soon, had been discovered on a hill in northern Seoul, several hours after his daughter had reported him missing.

Park, a liberal human rights lawyer who once led two of South Korea's most influential civic groups, was credited with winning the country's first sexual harassment conviction as an attorney. He had been praised for his success in controlling the city's coronavirus outbreak and was seen as a likely future presidential contender.

His body was found after an hourslong search involving hundreds of police and rescue workers, sniffer dogs and drones.

She said that his phone was off and she had been unable to reach him.

According to South Korean television and radio network company SBS news, a former secretary of the mayor had filed a sexual harassment complaint against Park with the police before his disappearance.

And now, this case will be closed without investigation after the mayor was found dead.

The Seoul city government announced on Friday that it will hold an official funeral ceremony for the deceased mayor and operate according to a contingency plan.

There was no sign of foul play and police did not give a cause of death.

Early on, Park established himself as a fierce opponent of former conservative President Park Geun-hye and openly supported the millions of people who flooded the city's streets in late 2016 and 2017, calling for her removal over a corruption scandal. The head of Korean National Women's Solidarity, Han Mi-Kyung, said: "If there is a link between Park's death and the allegation of sexual harassment, Park should have made his position clear during his lifetime".

In accordance with the law, the case was automatically terminated upon the mayor's death. I am sorry to my family to whom I only brought pain. Cremate me and spread the ashes over the graves of my parents.

Seo will serve as the city's acting mayor until a new mayor is elected in a by-election scheduled for April 2021.

He was kicked out of Seoul National University in 1975, barely a month after entering the prestigious school, for taking part in a rally against then president Park Chung-hee, and jailed for four months.

Our thoughts are with Park Won-Soon's loved ones at this hard time.

The 64-year-old has been serving as Seoul mayor since 2011 and has often been considered a presidential hopeful for the 2022 elections.

The funeral will include a five-day mourning period, with an altar set up in front of the City Hall in central Seoul on Friday to enable citizens of the city to pay their respects.

"(The party) is grief-stricken, looking back on his career path as a democratization and civil rights activist and an administrator", a party spokesman noted.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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