President Moon Jae-in on Saturday eulogized the father of a student activist whose death sparked nationwide pro-democracy protests in the 1980s that led to a direct presidential election.
Moon said Park Jung-ki, who died earlier in the day at age 89, had been with people who needed solidarity after his 22-year-old son, Park Jong-chul, was tortured to death during a police probe in 1987.
"Park Jong-chul will be remembered as the eternal flame of democracy and his father also left deep footprints," Moon said in a message posted on his Facebook page.
Moon also hoped that the father, who endured suffering, would rest in peace.
Also Saturday, South Korea's top prosecutor and police chief left for the country's southeastern port city of Busan to pay their respects to Park Jung-ki.
In June, Moon promised to transform the police building in Seoul -- where Park Jong-chul was tortured to death -- into a memorial hall of democracy and human rights.
The torture death, which police initially tried to cover up, touched off massive protests against the then military-backed Chun Doo-hwan government, resulting in the restoration of direct democratic presidential elections.
The incident gained fresh public attention with "1987: When the Day Comes," a South Korean film inspired by Park Jong-chul's death and the subsequent pro-democracy protests, which drew an audience of more than 7.2 million viewers earlier this year. (Yonhap)