Seoul city to hold mayoral funeral for Park Won-soon

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

Search for Seoul mayor missing after 'leaving a message like a will and turning his phone off'

His daughter reported him missing Thursday afternoon, saying he had given her a "will-like" verbal message and left home. Sim Sang-jung, leader of the left-leaning Justice Party, spoke to reporters after paying her respects to Park.

More than 500-thousand people signed a petition expressing opposition to a plan to hold a mayoral funeral for late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon.

About 300-400 officers and a drone were mobilised in the search, according to police. They said the phone was turned off when they tried to call him. His daughter contacted police to say that her father was unaccounted for.

Park Won-soon was a South Korean politician, philanthropist, activist and lawyer who served as Mayor of Seoul from 2011 until his death in July 2020.

The video on Yonhap, the country's government-funded news agency, showed mourners outside the hospital where Park's body lies crying and screaming "Mayor, it shouldn't go like this" and "I love you, Park Won-soon". Police didn't confirm local media reports that one of Park's secretaries had lodged a complaint over alleged sexual harassment.

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.

MBC television carried a similar report.

But following his suicide, feminist campaigners said he had avoided shame and punishment for allegedly harassing his female secretary, who filed a police complaint against him the day before his death.

Park Won-soon: Mayor of Seoul reported missing with search under way
Police find body of missing Seoul mayor Park Won-soon

The court said Mrs Park neglected her duties under the constitution, news agency Yonhap reported. Three rescue dogs also aided in the massive search operation.

This triggered a public frenzy: He was a odd politician, and his unexpected defeat of a ruling party candidate was seen as a sign that South Koreans were exhausted of traditional politics.

Mr Park, 64, was elected mayor of Seoul in 2011 and elected to his third and final term in June a year ago. He became the city's first mayor to be voted to a third term in June 2018.

He was seen as a potential presidential hopeful for the liberals in the 2022 presidential elections.

Word of the mayor's death and its possible links to sexual misconduct sent shock waves across the country, not only because Park was a political star but also because he had always been seen as a champion of women's rights. The country has been rocked by a string of high-profile sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations in recent years, including against entertainment stars, sports coaches and a former top prosecutor. He has also been an outspoken critic of Japan's colonial-era policies toward Korea, including the mobilization of Korean and other women as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers. He also played a vocal role in big candlelight demonstrations that contributed to the ousting of former President Park Geun-hye in 2017.

Park Geun-hye was formally removed from office in March 2017 and is now serving a decades-long prison term on bribery and other charges.

Park was a huge figure in South Korean politics.

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