Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon found dead after being reported missing
Mayor Park Won-soon was reported missing by his daughter.
July 9, 2020, 6:22 PM
5 min read
The mayor of South Korea’s capital, Seoul, was found dead early morning Friday local time, a rescue squad member told ABC News.
Mayor Park Won-soon was reported missing Thursday by his daughter, according to officials.
The rescue squad member, Shin Joon-Yong, said the team went into Waryong Park, in Seoul, with five rescue dogs. Shin said he spotted a bag and water bottle not far from a hiking track, and then his partner’s sniffer dog found the mayor’s body.
He was wearing what appeared to be hiking clothes at the time he was found, according to Shin.
Police had been using drones and sniffer dogs across the city to locate him.
His daughter told police his phone had been switched off. She also said he gave her a “will-like” message before leaving home, but did not detail what the message was. Police later found a suicide note at his residence.
Officials have not yet commented on the circumstances of his death.
The Seoul-based SBS television network reported that one of Park’s secretaries had filed a complaint with police Wednesday over alleged sexual harassment, including unwanted physical contact that began in 2017, the AP reported. The SBS report claimed the secretary told police investigators that other female employees at Seoul City Hall had suffered similar alleged sexual harassment by Park, but the report did not cite any sources, according to the AP.
Local reports claim she also submitted proof to the police, among them “very personal” photos sent to her by Park.
Park had been a popular politician and was considered a strong presidential candidate for the 2022 elections.
His career was built on his fight for human rights as a lawyer, including staunch support for women who were forced to work in brothels during World War II to be rightfully compensated by Japan. He also founded a successful NGO.
However, the sexual harassment claims deliver a huge blow to the left-leaning ruling part after another prominent presidential candidate, An Hee-jung, a former South Korean provincial governor, was jailed last year for sexual harassment.
If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.