Mayor of South Korean capital found dead after writing apology to 'everyone'

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Seoul's first Vice Mayor for Administrative Affairs Seo Jeong-hyup will serve as an acting mayor until the by-election slated for April 2021. The area is said to be closer to his official residence in Jongno-gu.

Mayor Park Won-soon had been found dead in wooded hills in northern Seoul hours after his daughter reported to police he had left her a "will-like" verbal message and disappeared. A report on SBS television revealed that his secretary told the investigators that a number of female employees at Seoul City Hall had been sexually harassed by Park.

"I feel sorry for everyone", Park said in a handwritten note at his Seoul residence that was shared with the media on Friday. Many thought he could be a potential presidential candidate for South Korea's upcoming elections in 2022. The country has been rocked by a series of high-profile sexual assault and harassment allegations in recent years, including against entertainment stars, sports coaches and a former top prosecutor.

In the missing complaint, his daughter stated: "Four, five hours ago, my father left the house after saying words that sounded like his last will but his phone is off". Police said there were no signs of criminality at the site but declined to disclose a cause of death. It is alleged that one of his secretaries had filed a complaint on Wednesday. The Prime Minister, Chung Sye-Kyun, expressed his condolences during a regular government meeting in response to the global pandemic.

But the UFP said it has yet to decide on whether to go to Seoul National University Hospital where Park's body has been moved for his funeral scheduled for Monday.

Choi Min-hee, a former lawmaker with the ruling Democratic Party (DP), accused the Justice Party of "politicizing" the issue of mourning the death of the liberal-minded mayor who was in office for a decade. "I pray that the deceased rests in peace", the prime minister said.

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Park was a huge figure in South Korean politics.

Kim Chong-in, caretaker leader of the conservative main opposition United Future Party, had put a plan on hold to pay a condolence call to Park's family.

Speaking in this regard, Moon Mi-ran, former deputy mayor of Park Won Soon spoke against defaming him.

Park also praised women for their courage after a series of women accused powerful politicians and policymakers of sexual wrongdoings amid the #MeToo movement in 2018.

As a lawyer in the 1990s, he won one of South Korea's earliest cases on sexual harassment, and strongly advocated for the cause of "comfort women", those who were forced to work in Japan's wartime military brothels before and during World War Two, when Japan occupied Korea.

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