Human Interest

Late Seoul mayor ‘left note of apology’ to his family

Tokyo, Jul 10 (efe-epa).- Seoul’s Mayor Park Won-soon, who was found dead on a mountainside in the capital on Friday, left a note of apology to his family, officials said.

Authorities found Park’s body in the hills of Mount Bukak near his official residence past midnight, after he went missing Thursday evening.

The mayor, considered one of the most powerful politicians in South Korea, allegedly left a note in his home office in which he apologized for the pain he had caused his family as well laying out what to do with his remains, Yonhap news agency said, citing the note unveiled by city authorities.

Police have ruled out foul play and plan to investigate his death, according to Yonhap.

On Thursday, Park’s daughter Park Da-in alerted the police over his disappearance, saying he left a message sounding like a will. She reported trying to call him but his phone was switched off.

The 64-year-old’s body was found after a large seven-hour search operation involving some 770 police officers and firefighters and dogs and drones equipped with thermal cameras.

Choi Ik-soo, an official at Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s Crime department, told reporters at a Friday briefing that a sexual misconduct allegation had been reported against Park on Wednesday.

Yonhap reported allegations of a female former secretary who had filed a complaint over unwanted “physical contact” and “inappropriate” messages.

According to South Korean law when a suspect dies, open investigations are closed.

Seoul’s city government said Park would be given a five-day mayoral funeral, as is customary.

An altar will be installed in front of City Hall in downtown Seoul for residents who want to pay their respects.

“We pray for the soul of the deceased and extend our deepest condolences to the citizens. City affairs will firmly continue according to Mayor Park Won-soon’s values that prioritized stability and welfare,” Vice Mayor for Administrative Affairs Seo Jeong-hyup said.

The official said a contingency plan had been put in place following Park’s sudden death and that Seo would serve as acting mayor until elections in April 2021.

Park, born in 1956 in Changnyeong, in the South Gyeongsang Province in the southeast of the country, had been mayor since 2011 and was a popular figure. He was serving his third consecutive term.

He won his first term in 2011 as an independent candidate before joining President Moon Jae-in’s liberal Democratic Party in 2012.

Liberals were considering Park as a presidential candidate for the 2022 elections.

As a former pro-democracy and human rights activist, Park was a unique and much-loved figure on the South Korean political scene. EFE-EPA


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