Park Won-soon, outspoken mayor of Seoul, found dead

Park Won-soon, outspoken mayor of Seoul, found dead

His daughter told police that he had left home after leaving a cryptic, "will-like message", according to Yonhap, the national news agency, which cited an anonymous police source.

Two TV stations in Seoul reported on Wednesday that a secretary in Park's office had reported alleged sexual harassment to police.

Park was scheduled to meet a presidential official Thursday afternoon at his office in Seoul City Hall.

"I am very sorry for the tragic choice of the deceased Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon", Joo said. He was widely considered a leading liberal candidate for president when his political ally and current President Moon Jae-in's single five-year term ends in 2022.

He defended many political activists and in the 1990s won South Korea's first sexual harassment conviction, in a landmark judgement.

Park's death automatically closed any police investigation into him, meaning that his accuser will not have an opportunity to legally prove her allegations, while he will not be able to mount a defence.

KUHN: I believe the victim - the accuser - may be the one who's in the most pain now, she said.

A missing report by his daughter was filed with police at around 5.17 p.m. (0817GMT) on Thursday.

Park Won-soon: Mayor of Seoul reported missing with search under way

It was also reported that he did not show up for work on Thursday, and he also canceled his 9-day work schedule due to recent physical discomfort. The Prime Minister, Chung Sye-Kyun, expressed his condolences during a regular government meeting in response to the global pandemic.

Moon Mi-ran, who once served as deputy mayor under Park, was more furious.

The corruption scandal exposed shady links between big businesses and politics in South Korea, with Park and her close friend Choi Soon-sil accused of taking bribes from conglomerates, including Samsung Electronics, in exchange for preferential treatment.

Kim Chong-in, caretaker leader of the conservative main opposition United Future Party, had put a plan on hold to pay a condolence call to Park's family.

The citizens have, however, been warned against defaming the mayor.

Park earned a diploma in global law from the London School of Economics and Political Science at the University of London, and was a visiting fellow in the Human Rights Program at Harvard University School of Law.

"Mayor Park's suicide will prompt soul-searching in Seoul", Leif-Eric Easley, an associate professor of worldwide studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, told DW.

Before becoming mayor, Park was a prominent human rights attorney who founded the country's most influential civil rights group. He became the city's first mayor to be voted to a third term in June 2018.

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