By Andy Hyun
Mayor Park Won-soon of the Metropolitan Seoul City Government was found dead at the Waryong Park on a small mountain in the northern part of the Seoul City yesterday (July 10, 2020). This was disclosed by the Seoul Police yesterday. It is one of the country’s highest-profile suicides in recent history.
The body of Park, 64, was found at Mount Bugak, hours after he was reported missing. The exact cause of his death is not known and is currently under investigation.
Park’s daughter had reported the mayor’s missing at 5:17 p.m. on July 8 saying that “My father left home four to five hours ago after leaving words like a will, with his phone already turned off.”
According to a report by Korea’s leading English daily, The Korea Herald, on July 10, more than 770 police officers, fire trucks and an ambulance were mobilized to track the whereabouts of Park, searching areas around his home and nearby Buddhist Temple, Gilsang-sa, in Seongbuk-dong in Seoul, where his cellphone signal was last detected.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government said that Major Park did not come to work Thursday for health reasons.
In a text message to reporters in the morning, the Seoul City government said that all events and meetings that Park had been set to attend Thursday were called off for “unavoidable reasons.”
On Wednesday, Park made a public appearance while holding a press conference on the city’s “Green New Deal” that intends to cut carbon dioxide emissions while creating jobs.
According to Korean-language news reports in Seoul, Park was recently facing allegations of sexual harassment filed by a former female employee of the Seoul City Government.
The former secretary of Park’s office filed a complaint against Park on Wednesday with the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency for alleged sexual assaults.
She alleged that Park had made physical contact several times since she began to work with him in 2017. She submitted messages that she had exchanged with Park via the Telegram service to police as evidence.
According to her testimony, there have also been other victims sexually assaulted by the mayor.
Police had planned to call in Park and Seoul government officials for investigations into the case.
Park, elected mayor of the South Korea capital in 2011, was in his third and final term.
A member of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, Park was regarded as a potential presidential candidate for the 2022 election.
A former human rights lawyer and a legendary civil rights campaigner, Park made a public appeal for human-centered policies and equality, such as making efforts to curb soaring housing prices in Seoul and strengthen welfare programs for the youth as well as the elderly.
Park is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.
The Seoul Police confirmed through the CCTV which recorded Park’s visit there at 10:35 a.m. July 9. Park's mobile phone stopped working in the vicinity of the Embassy of Finland in Seol in Seongbuk-dong, Seoul.
A former woman employee of Seoul City filed a complaint against the late former Mayor Park stating that she been sexually molested by Mayor Park. The woman visited the Police with her layer on July 8 and underwent interrogation until dawn the following day.
According to reports, the woman started working as a secretary at Seoul City and then started suffering sexual molesting from Mayor Park.