Mayor Of Seoul, Park Won-Soon, Found Dead After Going Missing For Hours

Seoul city mayor-elect Park Won-Soon of the main opposition party New Politics Alliance for Democracy celebrates
Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images

The mayor of Seoul, South Korea, Park Won-soon, has been found dead after he went missing for several hours on Thursday, CNN reported.

According to the report, Park’s daughter filed a missing person’s case with the local police on Thursday, after which a massive search operation was launched to find the mayor. The rescue operation team included about 600 police personnel and firefighters, together with three rescue dogs and drones.

After seven hours of vigorously searching for Park, the police found his dead body near Mount Bugak in northern Seoul. The signals of his phone were also last detected near the location.

Following his phone signals, the search and rescue team first scoured Seoul’s Waryong Park. CCTV camera footage revealed that the mayor was present at that location at around 11 a.m on Thursday. Later on, his phone signals were detected near his office, the CNN report detailed.

A police officer privy to the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, revealed that the mayor had left a message for his daughter on her phone before disappearing. Per a news article by The Associated Press, the mayor sent his daughter “a will-like” message, which alarmed her.

According to an official of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, Kim Ji-hyeong, the mayor did not show up at his workplace on Thursday, adding that he had a meeting with a presidential official which had to be cancelled because of his absence.

As detailed by The Associated Press report, there has so far been no clarity regarding the mayor’s sudden disappearance and death.

The piece quoted the Seoul-based SBS television network and stated that on Wednesday evening, one of Park’s secretaries had filed a sexual harassment case against him, adding that the unwanted encounter started in 2017. The police have so far declared no links between his disappearance and the sexual harassment allegations.

Park, who was 64 years old, was known to be a longtime civic activist and human rights lawyer. He was elected as the mayor of South Korea’s capital in 2011. In June of 2019, Park became the first mayor of Seoul to hold his office for the third time.

Per the CNN report, the liberal candidate had a promising chance in the 2022 presidential elections. He started his political career a decade ago and assumed office after running in the elections against the ruling party. Owing to his lack of experience in the political arena, he soon became a celebrated figure in the city as citizens saw him as a fresh, welcome change.

Although he started his political career as an independent candidate, he later developed a successful relationship with the opposition parties.