Seoul's mayor found dead amid sexual harassment allegations


He became the city's first mayor to be voted into a third term in June previous year. The area is said to be closer to his official residence in Jongno-gu.

"He had left home four to five hours ago after leaving words like a will, with his phone now off", read the report filed by Parks' daughter. Early on Friday, police confirmed that a sexual harrassment complaint had been filed against Park by a former secretary.

While South Koreans are in shock and grief over the abrupt death of Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon last week, the political community here seems to be split over the formalities of publicly mourning it.

The lawmaker said about 100 people, including the bereaved family, are expected to attend the funeral, which will be broadcast live on YouTube.

A member of President Moon Jae-in's liberal Democratic Party, he had been considered a potential presidential candidate for the liberals in the 2022 elections. Seoul's government said that a memorial alter will be set outside the city hall to enable the citizens pay their last respects.

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

Rep. Yoo Sang-bum of the United Future Party said in a radio interview that "I felt deeply sorry for the deceased, but I think there's a need to sufficiently examine what happened in the runup (to his death)". He left a message on his daughter's mobile phone answering service that she first heard more than five hours later. Police said there were no signs of foul play, adding they plan to investigate the exact cause of his death.

"The victim must have had painful times in the run-up to the filing of the complaint", wrote one user.

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

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

The rival main opposition United Future Party (UFP)'s floor leader Joo Ho-young also extended a message of consolation during a morning party meeting.

Park was a prominent politician in the country.

The by-elections scheduled for April next year that will choose a new Busan mayor and now a Seoul mayor will involve more than 10 million voters.

He was reelected in June 2014 and, in June this year, was returned for a third and final term as mayor of Seoul.

Park was a student activist in the days of South Korea's military dictatorship - he was jailed for taking part in a rally against then-president Park Chung-hee - and later became a human rights lawyer.