The Korea Herald


16 Seoul city employees committed suicide under mayor Park Won-soon: lawmaker

By Claire Lee

Published : Oct. 18, 2018 - 15:07

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A total of 16 low-ranking civil servants working for the Seoul Metropolitan Government took their own lives since Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon took office in 2011, many of them due to work-related stress, a lawmaker claimed during the parliamentary inspection of the city government Thursday.

According to Rep. Hong Moon-pyo of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, among the 16 deaths, 10 of them have been recognized as “deaths related to work stress” by the Government Employees Pension Service.

Among the remaining six cases, one is currently being reviewed by the Pension Service for its link to work-related reasons, and five of them are waiting to be reviewed by the same agency, Rep. Hong added. All those who died were low-ranking officers below the seventh grade of public servants. 

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon (Yonhap) Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon (Yonhap)

“Mayor Park has been so consumed by the thought of winning the next Presidential race, and this tragedy is a result of him pushing his employees too hard for his political grandstanding,” Rep. Hong said. “The mayor will have to offer a sincere apology for the lost lives and take the full responsibility.”

The lawmaker stressed that three civil servants took their lives this year alone, even though Park promised last year that he would introduce measures to better protect the city’s employees and ensure their well-being. The Seoul Metropolitan Government had already lost three employees to suicides last year by the time Mayor Park made the promise and apologized.

Rep. Hong also revealed that 19 employees of Seoul Metro, an agency affiliated with the Seoul Metropolitan Government, took their lives since Park Won-soon took over leadership of the city government in 2011. Another two died because of overwork.

Seoul Metro has been in the center of controversy during the ongoing parliamentary inspection period, after it was revealed that 11.2 percent of its 17,084 employees -- some 2,000 of them -- were either siblings or relatives of each other.

To Rep. Hong’s revelations on suicides, the Seoul Metropolitan Government said the three city employees who died this year had been suffering depression and financial hardships, and the link between their deaths and work-related stress was yet to be confirmed. 

It also claimed that a total of 10 Seoul city employees, not 16, took their own lives since 2011.

The city also argued that only four of those who lost their lives to suicides have been recognized as work-related deaths by the Government Employees Pension Service.

“The Seoul Metropolitan Government has been making consistent efforts to improve its work culture and better protect its workers, and will continue to do so,” the city government said in a statement.