USA

Seoul mayor found dead amid reported sexual-harassment allegations

The mayor of South Korea’s capital city, Seoul, who vanished amid sexual harassment allegations, has been found dead — hours after his daughter reported that he had left a verbal message that sounded like a will, according to a report.

Police found Park Won-soon dead after they launched a massive search for him in the hills stretching across northern Seoul where his cellphone signal was last detected, the Yonhap news agency reported.

Park, who was long seen as a potential presidential candidate, reportedly faced allegations of sexual misconduct. His daughter said he had left his home after saying what sounded like “last words,” according to Reuters.

She didn’t specify the contents of the message, according to an officer at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency who was responsible for the search party.

Government official Kim Ji-hyeong said Park did not come to work on Thursday for unspecified reasons and had canceled all of his meetings for the day.

The Seoul-based SBS TV network reported that one of the mayor’s secretaries had lodged a complaint with police a day earlier over alleged sexual harassment such as unwanted physical contact that began in 2017.

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soonAP

The report, which didn’t cite any source, said the woman told investigators that an unspecified number of other female staffers at City Hall had suffered similar sexual harassment by Park. MBC TV carried a similar report.

Police and the mayor’s office said they couldn’t confirm the reports.

Police spokesman Lee Byeong-seok said Park was last identified by a security camera at 10:53 a.m. at the entrance to the hills, more than six hours before his daughter reported him missing.

Park — a longtime civic activist and human rights lawyer who has been the mayor since 2011 — was seen as a potential presidential hopeful for the liberals during the 2022 presidential elections.

He had established himself as a fierce opponent of former conservative President Park Geun-hye and backed the millions of people who flooded city streets in late 2016 and 2017, calling for her ouster amid a corruption scandal.

Park Geun-hye, who was removed from office in 2017, is serving a long prison term on bribery and other charges.

With Post Wires

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