SEOUL | The mayor of Seoul has long been regarded as a potential candidate for the presidential election in South Korea, and whose body was found in the mountain, appears to have committed suicide after having been accused the day before of sexual harassment.
Park Won-soon, whose body was discovered Friday morning in the northern outskirts of Seoul, is the highest political official in the country to be involved in a sexual harassment case.
In a south Korean society remained deeply patriarchal, the global movement #MeToo, violence against women, has toppled dozens of male figures prominent, and this, in all areas.
In a message written by hand with ink and a brush, found in his official residence and made public, he apologized very general.
“I’m sorry for all of the world,” he wrote, asking to be cremated and that his ashes be scattered on the grave of his parents.
“I’m sorry to my family, to whom I did that cause the trouble”, he added.
“Goodbye”, signed Park Won-soon, 64 years of age, without reference to the accusations to which he is subject.
Emblematic Figure of the democratic Party (centre-left) in power, he had led since 2011 the giant capital city of South Korea, which has approximately ten million inhabitants, or almost one-fifth of the population of the country.
The one who didn’t hide his desire to succeed the chairman Moon Jae-in in 2022, had won three elections by being the advocate of the equality of the sexes and social.
His death occurs a day after his former secretary filed a complaint against him for sexual harassment.
I was “sexually harassed and had gestures that are inappropriate during work hours”, insisting in particular to join him in the adjoining bedroom to his office, told the alleged victim, according to a document presenting his testimony to the police, transmitted to AFP by a source close to the folder.
After work, told his personal secretary since 2015, he sent him via e-mail “of égoportraits of him in his underwear, accompanied by obscene comments”.
“Fear and humiliation”
“I tried to forget, in support of fear and humiliation, huge, telling me that it was in the best interest of the city of Seoul, myself and the mayor, Mr. Park,” she said, according to the document.
The police confirmed the complaint, but none of the details contained in this document.
The death of Park Won-soon means that the case will be automatically closed.
In spite of a remarkable industrial boom, the south Korean society is still very patriarchal, but signs of change appeared in 2018 when a prosecutor publicly accused a supervisor of the be cherished again and again at funerals.
The most resounding is that of Ahn Hee -jung, a former governor, came second in the 2017 in the race for the democratic Party nomination for the presidential election, and sentenced last year to having had sexual intercourse by abusing his authority. One of his employees accused him of rape.
Park Won-soon is the most senior political representative of south korea to have ended his days since the former president Roh Moo-hyun is thrown from the top of a cliff in 2009, after being questioned on corruption allegations that targeted members of his family.
He has been a student protester at the time of the dictatorship of Park Chung Hee (assassinated at the end of 1979) in South Korea.
Imprisoned for having participated in a rally against the military regime, he was dismissed from Seoul national University in 1975, barely a few weeks after entering it, and imprisoned for four months.
Park Won-soon later became a lawyer engaged in the struggle for the respect of human rights, defending as many political activists in the 1980s and 1990s.
He has also invested in charitable actions.
At the head of the south Korean capital, Park Won-soon has forged a reputation as a hard worker, showing themselves very exacting to his subordinates, some of whom would have even committed suicide due to the stress suffered.
On Friday, the news of his death gave rise to mixed reactions, some expressing their condolences, and other réprouvant a suicide intended, according to them, to avoid a conviction.
A memorial should be erected in front of the city hall of Seoul, so that people can pay their last respects.