- Park was found dead on Friday after he was reported missing.
- Earlier, more than 500,000 South Koreans signed a petition calling for the government not to use public funds for the Park’s funeral service.
- However, Seoul city’s officials said the funeral was a public event that was paid for by the city funds.
A funeral service has taken place for Seoul’s Mayor, Park Won-soon, held online due to the coronavirus pandemic. There were 100 people in attendance, including the bereaved family. The service began by silent tributes, then a video of Park’s life was played. Mourners who wore masks gave speeches and laid flowers.
Park was found dead on Friday after he was reported missing. Earlier, more than 500,000 South Koreans signed a petition calling for the government not to use public funds for the Park’s funeral service. “Holding a quiet, family funeral would be the proper thing to do,” the petition said. However, Seoul city’s officials said the funeral was a public event that was paid for by the city funds.
The body of Park Won-soon was found near a traditional restaurant and wooded hills in a northern part of Seoul. The area is said to be closer to his official residence in Jongno-gu.
The police said that after a massive search, rescue dogs discovered the body. They stated that there appeared to be no foul play in connection to the death, but did not reveal the cause.
The police, with the permission of his family, revealed the contents of his “will” found at his residence. “I apologize to everyone . . . I feel sorry to everyone who has been with me in my life. I am sorry to my family, to whom I have only caused pain,” the note said. It added that he should be cremated, and the remains scattered around his parents’ grave.
Park’s death comes a day after he had been implicated in a sexual harassment allegation. It is alleged that one of his secretaries had filed a complaint on Wednesday. A report on SBS television revealed that his secretary told the investigators that a number of female employees at Seoul City Hall had been sexually harassed by Park.
It is reported that the mayor did not report to work on Thursday. One of Seoul’s Metropolitan Government officials, Kim Ji-hyeong, said the Park had canceled all his scheduled meetings and activities, including a meeting with a presidential official.
The Prime Minister, Chung Sye-Kyun, expressed his condolences during a regular government meeting in response to the global pandemic. “Mayor Park who served Seoul citizens for a decade, was found passed away. I pray that the deceased rests in peace,” the prime minister said.
There were mixed reactions on social media in relation to Park’s death. Some users expressed their deepest condolences, while others criticized him for his actions, saying he killed himself to avoid punishment.
The citizens have, however, been warned against defaming the mayor. “If acts of defaming him continue irrespective of the truth, we will sternly respond with legal actions,” said Moon mi-ran, who formerly served as Park’s deputy.
Park was a prominent politician in the country. He was the mayor of the country’s capital, Seoul, since 2011. Park became the city’s first mayor to be voted to a third term in June in 2018. He was also a former human rights lawyer who led the country’s most influential civic groups.
As a lawyer, he won the country’s first sexual harassment conviction. As a member of the president’s liberal Democratic Party, he was a hopeful presidential candidate for 2022.