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Seoul mayor found dead following five-hour search

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Seoul mayor found dead following five-hour search
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon was found dead after his daughter filed a police report on Thursday. Photo by Thomas Maresca/UPI

SEOUL, July 9 (UPI) -- Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon was found dead Thursday in an area of northern Seoul following a massive search operation involving 700 police.

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported around midnight, local time, Park's body was found in an area near Mount Bugak. Police began scouring the area, following tips the mayor had been seen in the vicinity.

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Park's body was found near Sukjeongmun, one of the traditional gates surrounding the city.

The search began after Park's daughter filed a police report shortly after 5:15 p.m., saying he had left home four to five hours earlier and had left "words like a will" behind, Yonhap reported.

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She said that his phone was off and she had been unable to reach him. Police conducted a search using drones and police dogs.

Park did not show up for work on Thursday, a City Hall official confirmed to UPI, but the office has not issued an official statement.

South Korean broadcaster SBS reported that one of Park's secretaries filed a criminal complaint against him for sexual harassment on Wednesday evening, alleging that he had harassed her repeatedly after she started working for him in 2017.

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Another network, MBC, reported that police confirmed the secretary had filed the complaint.

Park, 64, was elected mayor in 2011 and was serving his third and final term in office. He was a human rights lawyer and had founded an influential civil rights group before his election.

The mayor of a city of 10 million residents, Park was one of the most powerful elected officials in the country and was widely considered a potential presidential candidate for the ruling Democratic Party in 2022.

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Elizabeth Shim contributed to this report.

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