Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon reported missing, search operation underway

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon’s daughter called police earlier on July 9 and said her father has been unaccounted for

The Mayor of South Korean capital Seoul has been reported missing and police are searching for him on July 9.

Police officers said they are looking for Mayor Park Won-soon at Seoul’s Sungbuk neighbourhood where his mobile phone signal was last detected. They said Mr. Park’s mobile phone was currently turned off.

His daughter called police earlier on July 9 and said her father has been unaccounted for, the police officers said, requesting anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media on the matter.

They gave no further details. But Yonhap news agency reported Mr. Park’s daughter told police that her father left a will-like message before leaving their home earlier on July 9.

Yonhap said officers, drones and police dogs have been mobilised for Mr. Park’s search.

Kim Ji-hyeong, an official from the Seoul Metropolitan Government, confirmed that Mr. Park did not show up for work on July 9 because of unspecified reasons and cancelled all his schedules, including a meeting with a presidential official at his Seoul City Hall office.

A longtime civic activist and human rights lawyer, Mr. Park was elected as Seoul Mayor in 2011 and became the city’s first Mayor to be voted into a third term in June last year.

A member of President Moon Jae-in’s liberal Democratic Party, Mr. Park has been considered a potential presidential hopeful for the liberals in the 2022 elections.

Mr. Park has mostly maintained his activist colours as Mayor, criticising what he described as the country’s growing social and economic inequalities and the traditionally corrupt ties between large businesses and politicians.

During the earlier part of his terms, Mr. Park established himself as a fierce opponent of former conservative President Park Geun-hye and openly supported the millions of people who flooded the city streets in late 2016 and 2017, calling for her ouster over a corruption scandal.

Mr. Park Geun-hye was formally removed from office in March 2017 and is currently serving a decades-long prison term on bribery and other charges.

Seoul, a city with 10 million people, has been a new epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in South Korea since the Asian country eased its rigid social distancing rules in early May.

Authorities are struggling to trace contacts amid surges in cases linked to nightclubs, church services, a huge e-commerce warehouse and door-to-door sellers.

Source: Read Full Article