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Search continues for seoul mayor reported missing

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)


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

Police and fire authorities launched the search after Park’s daughter filed a police report at 5:17 p.m. that his whereabouts were unaccounted for. 

“He had left home four to five hours ago after leaving words like a will, with his phone currently off," the daughter told police.

As it got dark, police expanded the search operations with 700 officers, three drones and four police dogs.

They intensified searching in areas around the residence of the Finland ambassador to Korea in Seongbuk-dong in Seoul, where Park’s cellphone signal was last detected, as well as Waryong Park in Myeongnyun-dong.

Park was spotted in security camera footage at Waryong Park at 10:53 a.m., police said during a briefing session.

According to local news reports, Park is recently facing allegations of sexual harassment.

A former secretary of Park filed a complaint against Park on Wednesday with the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency for alleged sexual assaults.

She alleged that Park has made physical contact several times since she began to work with him in 2017. She submitted messages that she had exchanged with Park via the Telegram service to police as evidence. According to her testimony, there have also been other victims sexually assaulted by the mayor.

Police had planned to call in Park and Seoul government officials for investigations into the case.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government said the mayor did not come to work Thursday due to health reasons.

In a text message to reporters in the morning, the city government said an event that Park has been set to attend Thursday was called off for “unavoidable reasons.”

On Wednesday, Park made a public appearance while holding a press conference on the city’s “Green New Deal” that intends to cut carbon dioxide emissions while creating jobs.

Park, elected mayor of the South Korea capital in 2011, is serving his third term. 

A member of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, Park has been regarded as a potential presidential candidate for the 2022 election.

By Park Han-na (hnpark@heraldcorp.com)

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