Foreign Desk Report
SEOUL: Seoul’s outspoken mayor Park Won-soon, long seen as a potential South Korean presidential candidate, was found dead, police said on Thursday. He was 64.
A former Seoul City employee filed a police complaint allegedly involving sexual harassment against him on Wednesday. Park’s body was found on a mountain in northern Seoul, police said, hours after hundreds of officers started searching for him.
If Park does prove to have killed himself he would be the highest-profile South Korean politician to do so since former president Roh Moo-hyun, who jumped off a cliff in 2009 after being questioned over corruption allegations involving family members. Park’s daughter reported him missing on Thursday afternoon, saying her father had been unreachable for several hours, police said.
He left a message that sounded like “last words” and his phone had been turned off, she told police. He has consistently been spoken of as a potential candidate in the race to succeed President Moon Jae-in, and did not deny ambitions on that front when asked by media earlier this year. Park had a similar background to Moon as a student activist in the days of South Korea’s military dictatorship and later a human rights lawyer.