Seoul’s outspoken mayor Park Gained-soon, lengthy seen as a possible South Korean presidential candidate, was discovered lifeless, police mentioned Friday. He was 64.
A former Seoul Metropolis worker filed a police criticism — allegedly involving sexual harassment — in opposition to him on Wednesday.
Park’s physique was discovered on a mountain in northern Seoul, police mentioned, hours after lots of of officers began trying to find him.
If Park does show to have killed himself he could be the highest-profile South Korean politician to take action since former president Roh Moo-hyun, who jumped off a cliff in 2009 after being questioned over corruption allegations involving relations.
Park’s daughter reported him lacking on Thursday afternoon, saying her father had been unreachable for a number of hours, police mentioned.
He left a message that appeared like “final phrases” and his phone had been turned off, she informed police.
A heavyweight determine within the ruling centre-left Democratic occasion, Park ran South Korea’s sprawling capital — dwelling to virtually a fifth of the nationwide inhabitants — for almost a decade.
He has persistently been spoken of as a possible candidate within the race to succeed President Moon Jae-in, and didn’t deny ambitions on that entrance when requested by AFP earlier this yr.
Park had an analogous background to Moon as a pupil activist within the days of South Korea’s navy dictatorship and later a human rights lawyer.
He was kicked out of Seoul Nationwide College in 1975, barely a month after getting into the distinguished college, for participating in a rally in opposition to then president Park Chung-hee, and jailed for 4 months.
– Jailhouse to courthouse –
However he described his time in jail as a cheerful and productive interval that allowed him to formulate his life targets.
After finishing his research, Park went into regulation and defended many political activists within the 1980s and 1990s.
He helped launch the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, an influential NGO pushing to reform the conglomerates that dominate South Korean enterprise.
Park additionally based the Lovely Basis — a philanthropic group that promotes volunteerism and group service — within the hopes of giving people the flexibility “to really feel great and delightful” by donating to its trigger.
It grew into one of many largest non-profit organisations in South Korea and launched the Lovely Shops, a sequence of charity outlets modelled after Britain’s Oxfam outlets.
Bespectacled and soft-featured, Park was thought-about a political novice when he first entered the Seoul mayoral race as an unbiased candidate in 2011 however he defeated Na Kyung-won, essentially the most distinguished feminine lawmaker for the then ruling conservative occasion.
He subsequently joined the Democratic occasion and made a reputation for himself as a three-term mayor of the South Korean capital — his ultimate victory coming in a 2018 landslide when he took greater than 50 % of the vote.
Throughout his marketing campaign, Park — identified for his hardworking and down-to-earth character — pledged to create a cleaner metropolis that ensured gender equality, and to result in peace between North and South Korea.
On his official Twitter account, Park launched himself as a “Social Designer”, saying: “Nowadays, I… dream of making Seoul that places the people first. Please be part of me on this dream.”
However he additionally earned a popularity as a workaholic boss, with studies saying a handful of civil servants on the Seoul metropolis authorities had dedicated suicide as a consequence of work-related stress beneath him.
Earlier this week he courted controversy by being one among a number of senior Democratic occasion politicians to attend the funeral of the mom of Ahn Hee-jung, a former provincial governor convicted of sexual offences final yr.
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