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Controversy continues even after Seoul mayor's death

Park Ju-sin, center, the son of late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, arrives at Seoul National University Hospital, Saturday, as a funeral altar for his father is in place there. He returned home from the United Kingdom earlier that day to attend his father's funeral. / Yonhap
Park Ju-sin, center, the son of late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, arrives at Seoul National University Hospital, Saturday, as a funeral altar for his father is in place there. He returned home from the United Kingdom earlier that day to attend his father's funeral. / Yonhap

By Jun Ji-hye


A female former secretary of Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, who filed a sexual harassment complaint against him, appears to be encountering fears of "secondary damage" as she has been the target of personal insults and abuse online.

The secretary filed the complaint with police, Wednesday, reportedly alleging that Park had touched her numerous times and had sent her "inappropriate" messages on Telegram since 2017.

Park was found dead in an apparent suicide on Mount Bukak in Seoul at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

The reason for his presumed suicide is not yet known, but many have suggested that he acted amid mounting personal pressure following the complaint.

Following the incident, unconfirmed information about and photos of the victim have been spread online.

Some online commentators, believed to be Park's supporters, have even condemned the victim, attributing the mayor's death to her complaint.

Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency warned, "We will respond strictly, in accordance with laws and principles, to those who defame the reputation of those involved in the case by spreading unconfirmed rumors."

The political parties also asked members of the public to immediately stop digging up information on the victim.

"Nothing has been clarified yet. The indiscriminate spreading of unconfirmed rumors will cause another controversy," ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) spokesman Rep. Kang Hoon-sik said.

Meanwhile, Park Ju-sin, the son of the late mayor, returned home from the United Kingdom, Saturday, to attend his father's funeral.

He landed at Incheon International Airport at about 2 p.m., and went through coronavirus testing, having a negative result.

He was supposed to be placed under 14-day self-quarantine in accordance with the country's guidelines aimed at stemming the spread of COVID-19, but was exempted from this on humanitarian grounds.

The five-day mourning period is being held at Seoul National University Hospital, where Park's body was taken.

Park's son has lived in the United Kingdom for about eight years since he left the country amid a controversy over dodging military service.

According to DPK Rep. Park Hong-keun who co-heads a funeral preparation committee, a "sending-off" ceremony for the late mayor will be held online at 8:30 a.m. today, abiding by the government's efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Park Ju-sin, center, the son of late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, arrives at Seoul National University Hospital, Saturday, as a funeral altar for his father is in place there. He returned home from the United Kingdom earlier that day to attend his father's funeral. / Yonhap
Park Ju-sin, center, the son of late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, arrives at Seoul National University Hospital, Saturday, as a funeral altar for his father is in place there. He returned home from the United Kingdom earlier that day to attend his father's funeral. / Yonhap

By Jun Ji-hye


A female former secretary of Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, who filed a sexual harassment complaint against him, appears to be encountering fears of "secondary damage" as she has been the target of personal insults and abuse online.

The secretary filed the complaint with police, Wednesday, reportedly alleging that Park had touched her numerous times and had sent her "inappropriate" messages on Telegram since 2017.

Park was found dead in an apparent suicide on Mount Bukak in Seoul at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

The reason for his presumed suicide is not yet known, but many have suggested that he acted amid mounting personal pressure following the complaint.

Following the incident, unconfirmed information about and photos of the victim have been spread online.

Some online commentators, believed to be Park's supporters, have even condemned the victim, attributing the mayor's death to her complaint.

Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency warned, "We will respond strictly, in accordance with laws and principles, to those who defame the reputation of those involved in the case by spreading unconfirmed rumors."

The political parties also asked members of the public to immediately stop digging up information on the victim.

"Nothing has been clarified yet. The indiscriminate spreading of unconfirmed rumors will cause another controversy," ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) spokesman Rep. Kang Hoon-sik said.

Meanwhile, Park Ju-sin, the son of the late mayor, returned home from the United Kingdom, Saturday, to attend his father's funeral.

He landed at Incheon International Airport at about 2 p.m., and went through coronavirus testing, having a negative result.

He was supposed to be placed under 14-day self-quarantine in accordance with the country's guidelines aimed at stemming the spread of COVID-19, but was exempted from this on humanitarian grounds.

The five-day mourning period is being held at Seoul National University Hospital, where Park's body was taken.

Park's son has lived in the United Kingdom for about eight years since he left the country amid a controversy over dodging military service.

According to DPK Rep. Park Hong-keun who co-heads a funeral preparation committee, a "sending-off" ceremony for the late mayor will be held online at 8:30 a.m. today, abiding by the government's efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Jun Ji-hye jjh@koreatimes.co.kr

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