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Seoul Mayor found dead, city to hold 5-day funeral (Ld)

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Seoul | Friday, 2020 8:15:06 PM IST
The Seoul city government announced on Friday that it has planned to hold a five-day funeral for Mayor Park Won-soon, who was found dead earlier in the day just hours after he was reported missing.

The 64-year-old South Korean capital city's three-term Mayor was found dead in the woods of Mount Bugak near his official residence shortly after midnight, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Police said there were no signs of foul play, adding they planned to investigate the exact cause of his death.

He was first reported missing by his daughter Thursday evening, who said he left a message "sounding like a will" before he vanished.

On Friday, city authorities unveiled a note Park left at his official residence.

Park said he was "sorry" to everyone and specifically mentioned that he is sorry to his family for "causing only pain".

The message however, did not mention the sexual harassment allegations raised against Park.

The Mayor was reportedly facing a probe into the allegations after a female former secretary filed a criminal complaint on Wednesday over unwanted "physical contact" and "inappropriate" messages, Yonhap News Agency reported.

In accordance with the law, the case has now been automatically terminated upon the Mayor's death.

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

The city government said that Park's funeral will be held in the fashion of a mayoral funeral for five days.

Funerals in Korea generally last for three days.

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

Vice Mayor for Administrative Affairs Seo Jeong-hyup will now serve as the city's acting mayor until the by-election scheduled for April 2021.

Park was regarded as a presidential hopeful for the ruling Democratic Party in the 2022 elections.

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.

As the longest-serving Mayor for the country's biggest city, where one-fifth of South Koreans live, his policies centered on youth, environment and urban regeneration.

--IANS ksk/

( 386 Words)

2020-07-10-14:22:06 (IANS)

 
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