Police launch search for mayor of Seoul following report he went missing

26 2014 Seoul mayoral candidate Park Won Soon attends an interview with AFP in Seoul

Seoul Mayor Found Dead Yonhap Reports Citing Police AFP 2020 ED JONES

Search and rescue teams search Waryong park for Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, who was last seen there and was reported missing earlier in the day, in Seoul on July 9, 2020.

Search efforts continued to locate Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon late Thursday night, several hours after he was reported missing.

Police found the official's body near Sukjeongmun historic gates after a long search, Yonhap reported. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Park, 64, canceled his official schedule for Thursday and called in sick to City Hall.

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This is a breaking story, more to follow. She told police her father had left a verbal message that sounded like a will, and had later turned off his mobile phone.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said officers were searching for him around Sungbuk-dong, a district in northern Seoul, where his phone signal was last detected.

The reason for Park's disappearance wasn't clear.

Choi said an investigation was under way after a criminal complaint had been lodged against Park, without elaborating.

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MBC television reported on a similar allegation. The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency convened an emergency meeting Thursday afternoon headed by the agency's chief commissioner.

It has emerged that a female employee had filed a sexual harassment claim against Mr Park in the hours before he went missing, but there has been no confirmation that this was a factor. Fire officer Jeong Jin-hyang said rescuers used dogs to search unsafe areas on the hills, and helicopters were to be deployed Friday morning in the event that Park still had not been found overnight.

Formerly a prominent human rights activist and lawyer, Park had been the mayor of Seoul since 2011, pursuing a slew of policies promoting gender equality.

Park Won-soon, then-candidate for Seoul city mayor of the main opposition party New Politics Alliance for Democracy celebrates his victory in the Seoul mayoral election at his office in Seoul, South Korea.

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As a lawyer, he was credited for winning the country's first sexual harassment conviction. He also campaigned for the rights of so-called comfort women, Korean sex slaves who were lured or forced to work in brothels for the Japanese army during World War II.

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