Seoul mayor Park Won-soon found dead after going missing

Seoul mayor Park Won-soon found dead after going missing
Park Won-soon was elected mayor of Seoul in 2011 and elected to his third and final term in June of last year. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: South Korea’s police said they have found the body of the city’s mayor after he went missing on Thursday. Daughter of Park Won-soon told police he had left a message before leaving the house, leading her to raise the alarm.

His body was found at Mount Bugak in northern Seoul. The place is near where his phone signal was last detected.

No cause of his death has yet been released.

In the hours before he went missing, a female employee had filed a sexual harassment claim against Mr Park, but there has been no confirmation that this was a factor.

Kim Ji-hyeong, an official from the Seoul Metropolitan Government, told the Associated Press the mayor did not show up for work on Thursday, cancelling a meeting with a presidential official at his Seoul City Hall office.

Mr Park was seen by a security camera at 10:53 near the entrance to the wooded area where the phone signal was last detected, Police officer Lee Byeong-seok told reporters.

After getting missing report from his daughter, about 600 police and fire officers using drones and dogs searched the area for hours on Thursday.

Crowds gathered outside the Seoul National University hospital late on Thursday amid unconfirmed reports that Mr Park had been found and taken there.

Mr Park was elected as Seoul mayor in 2011 and elected to his third and final term in June of last year. He was a member of President Moon Jae-in’s liberal Democratic Party and was reportedly under consideration as a potential presidential hopeful in the 2022 elections.

He was the first mayor on South Korea’s capital who elected for third time. He had carried his history as a human rights lawyer and civic activist and into his tenure as mayor and was an outspoken critic of social inequality and corruption in South Korea.

As a lawyer in 1990s, Park Won-soon has one of South Korea’s earliest cases on sexual harassment, and strongly advocated for the cause of “comfort women” who were forced to work in Japan’s military brothels before and during the second world war.

He was credited with securing the country’s first sexual harassment conviction.

He openly clashed with former President Park Geun-hye, openly supporting millions of people who protested against her in 2017 before she was eventually charged and imprisoned on bribery and other charges.

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