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Seoul city to hold mayoral funeral for Park Won-soon

Seo Jeong-hyup, first vice mayor for administrative affairs, speaks at Seoul City Hall in Friday morning about the city's future plans following the death of city mayor Park Won-soon. Seo takes the late Park's office for now. Yonhap
Seo Jeong-hyup, first vice mayor for administrative affairs, speaks at Seoul City Hall in Friday morning about the city's future plans following the death of city mayor Park Won-soon. Seo takes the late Park's office for now. Yonhap

Seoul City Mayor Park Won-soon
Seoul City Mayor Park Won-soon
The Seoul city government said Friday it plans to hold a mayoral funeral for Park Won-soon and run on a contingency plan for the time being following his abrupt death that is suspected as a suicide.

The 64-year-old mayor was found dead in the woods of Mount Bugak near his official residence in central Seoul, shortly after midnight. Police said there were no signs of foul play.

His body was found after an hourslong search involving hundreds of police and rescue workers. He was first reported missing by his daughter Thursday evening, who said he left a message "sounding like a will" before he vanished.

The city government pledged to carry on with city affairs in respect of Park.

An inspector from Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency in Friday morning debriefs about Park who has been found dead at Waryong Park in Seoul's Seongbuk-gu District. Yonhap
An inspector from Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency in Friday morning debriefs about Park who has been found dead at Waryong Park in Seoul's Seongbuk-gu District. Yonhap

"We pray for the soul of the deceased and extend our deepest condolences to the citizens (of Seoul). 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 in a press briefing.

Seo will serve as the city's acting mayor until a new mayor is elected in a by-election scheduled for April 2021.

City officials said that Park's funeral will be held in the fashion of a mayoral funeral for five days. Funerals in Korea are generally last for three days.

An altar will be set up in front of City Hall in central Seoul this afternoon for citizens and staff members wanting to mourn Park's death, they added.

The mayor was reportedly facing a probe into allegations of sexual harassment. A female former secretary is believed to have filed a criminal complaint on Wednesday over unwanted "physical contact" and "inappropriate" messages.

An emergency crew member searches for Park at Mount Bukak in Seoul who was reported missing on July 9. Yonhap
An emergency crew member searches for Park at Mount Bukak in Seoul who was reported missing on July 9. Yonhap

Police officials declined to elaborate on the case, including whether the complaint was submitted.

In accordance with the law, the case was automatically terminated upon the mayor's death.

When asked whether the city plans to open an investigation, city officials said they are "not yet aware" of the allegations and have not reviewed such plan.

Park, regarded as a presidential hopeful for the ruling Democratic Party, was the longest-serving mayor for the country's biggest city where one-fifth of South Koreans live.

The civic activist and human rights lawyer was first elected in a 2011 by-election and re-elected in 2014 and 2018. His term was slated to end in 2022. (Yonhap)



Seo Jeong-hyup, first vice mayor for administrative affairs, speaks at Seoul City Hall in Friday morning about the city's future plans following the death of city mayor Park Won-soon. Seo takes the late Park's office for now. Yonhap
Seo Jeong-hyup, first vice mayor for administrative affairs, speaks at Seoul City Hall in Friday morning about the city's future plans following the death of city mayor Park Won-soon. Seo takes the late Park's office for now. Yonhap

Seoul City Mayor Park Won-soon
Seoul City Mayor Park Won-soon
The Seoul city government said Friday it plans to hold a mayoral funeral for Park Won-soon and run on a contingency plan for the time being following his abrupt death that is suspected as a suicide.

The 64-year-old mayor was found dead in the woods of Mount Bugak near his official residence in central Seoul, shortly after midnight. Police said there were no signs of foul play.

His body was found after an hourslong search involving hundreds of police and rescue workers. He was first reported missing by his daughter Thursday evening, who said he left a message "sounding like a will" before he vanished.

The city government pledged to carry on with city affairs in respect of Park.

An inspector from Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency in Friday morning debriefs about Park who has been found dead at Waryong Park in Seoul's Seongbuk-gu District. Yonhap
An inspector from Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency in Friday morning debriefs about Park who has been found dead at Waryong Park in Seoul's Seongbuk-gu District. Yonhap

"We pray for the soul of the deceased and extend our deepest condolences to the citizens (of Seoul). 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 in a press briefing.

Seo will serve as the city's acting mayor until a new mayor is elected in a by-election scheduled for April 2021.

City officials said that Park's funeral will be held in the fashion of a mayoral funeral for five days. Funerals in Korea are generally last for three days.

An altar will be set up in front of City Hall in central Seoul this afternoon for citizens and staff members wanting to mourn Park's death, they added.

The mayor was reportedly facing a probe into allegations of sexual harassment. A female former secretary is believed to have filed a criminal complaint on Wednesday over unwanted "physical contact" and "inappropriate" messages.

An emergency crew member searches for Park at Mount Bukak in Seoul who was reported missing on July 9. Yonhap
An emergency crew member searches for Park at Mount Bukak in Seoul who was reported missing on July 9. Yonhap

Police officials declined to elaborate on the case, including whether the complaint was submitted.

In accordance with the law, the case was automatically terminated upon the mayor's death.

When asked whether the city plans to open an investigation, city officials said they are "not yet aware" of the allegations and have not reviewed such plan.

Park, regarded as a presidential hopeful for the ruling Democratic Party, was the longest-serving mayor for the country's biggest city where one-fifth of South Koreans live.

The civic activist and human rights lawyer was first elected in a 2011 by-election and re-elected in 2014 and 2018. His term was slated to end in 2022. (Yonhap)




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