Park Won-soon: Seoul mayor found dead after going missing

Death follows reports of sexual harassment allegations 

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 09 July 2020 17:51
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Mr Park was elected mayor of Seoul in 2011 and voted into his third and final term in June last year
Mr Park was elected mayor of Seoul in 2011 and voted into his third and final term in June last year

The mayor of South Korea’s capital was found dead on Friday, after his daughter reported him missing a day earlier.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency found the body of Park Won-soon at Mt Bugak in northern Seoul, near where his phone signal was last detected during a late night search, local media reported.

His daughter contacted police on Thursday afternoon and said her father left “a will-like” message before leaving their home 4-5 hours earlier.

Police said there were no signs of foul play in Mr Park’s death, according to Reuters news agency.

Reports from South Korean broadcasters said one of Mr Park’s secretaries had lodged a complaint with police on Wednesday night over alleged sexual harassment.

Police officers arrive to search for Park Won-soon in Seoul

The complainant, known only as Ms A in a report by the SBS News television network, said the harassment started when she started working there in 2017.

Mr Park is alleged to have sent “personal photos” via text message to the secretary as well as engaging in unwanted physical contact. Ms A reportedly told police there were other victims of sexual harassment by the mayor.

Police on Friday confirmed a “criminal complaint” had been lodged against the mayor.

Both the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency and Park’s office earlier said they couldn’t confirm the harassment reports.

Mr Park was elected as mayor of Seoul in 2011 and voted into his third and final term in June last year.

He has long been a civic activist and human rights lawyer.

As a member of president Moon Jae-in’s Democratic Party, Mr Park has also been considered as a potential presidential hopeful in the 2022 elections.

Mr Park has mostly maintained his activist mission as mayor, criticising what he described as the country’s growing social and economic inequalities and allegedly corrupt ties between large businesses and politicians.

Additional reporting by agencies

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