Mayor of Seoul Park Won-soon found dead after going missing

9 July 2020, 19:38

Mayor of Seoul Park Won-soon
Mayor of Seoul Park Won-soon. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

South Korean police have confirmed that the body of the Mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon, has been found after he went missing on Thursday.

The mayor's daughter reportedly said he had left a message before he lift the house on Thursday morning, causing her to raise the alarm to police.

His body was found on Friday near Mouth Bugak in northern Seoul. He was found near where his mobile phone signal was last detected.

His cause of death has not yet been released.

Mr Park did not show up for work on Thursday morning, and cancelled a meeting with a presidential official at his office, the Associated Press reports.

Around 600 police and fire service workers were searching for Park Won-soon
Around 600 police and fire service workers were searching for Park Won-soon. Picture: PA

Police said that Mr Park was also seen on security cameras at 10:53 near to the wooded area where his phone was detected.

Almost 600 police and fire officers combed the area looking for him using drones and dogs.

It has since emerged that a female employee had filed a sexual harassment claim against Mr Park in the hours before he went missing. However, it has not been confirmed if that had anything to do with his death.

Park Won-soon was found dead in a wooded area
Park Won-soon was found dead in a wooded area. Picture: PA

Mr Park was elected mayor of Seoul in 2011 and elected to his third and final term in June of last year.

As a member of President Moon Jae-in's liberal Democratic Party, Mr Park was reportedly under consideration as a potential presidential hopeful in the 2022 elections.

He had carried his history as a civic activist and human rights lawyer into his tenure as mayor and has been an outspoken critic of social inequality and corruption in South Korea for many years.

As a lawyer, he was credited with securing the country's first sexual harassment conviction.

He also clashed with previous President Park Geun-hye, and openly supported millions of people who protested against her in 2017.