Mystery as Seoul mayor vanishes days after planning coronavirus summit with North Korea


A MASSIVE manhunt is on for the South Korean mayor of Seoul who has gone missing days after planning a summit with North Korea.

Mayor Park Won-soon’s phone has been switched off since he was reported missing at 5.17pm local time today.

Park’s daughter said he “had left home four to five hours ago after leaving words like a will” in her police report.

Cops said they are searching Seoul’s Sungbuk neighborhood where his mobile phone signal was last detected.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency and other local reports have said that officers, drones and police dogs have been mobilised in the north of the city for Park’s search.

Officers are also stationed outside his house.

The full message that he left his daughter has not yet been disclosed.

It comes only days after the 64-year-old longtime civic activist and human rights lawyer proposed a major coronavirus prevention summit with North Korean politicians to create a combined response to the disease.

An official from the Seoul Metropolitan Government, Kim Ji-hyeong, confirmed that he did not show up for work on Thursday.

He did not say why but Park’s schedules are all cancelled, including a meeting with a presidential official at his Seoul City Hall office.

Park was elected as Seoul mayor in 2011 and is the city’s first mayor to be voted into a third term in June 2019.

Park has been considered a potential presidential hopeful for the liberals in the 2022 elections as he is a member of President Moon Jae-in’s liberal Democratic Party.

He has continued his activist work as mayor, making him a lot of enemies.

He has been heavily critical of the country’s growing social and economic inequalities and the traditionally corrupt ties between large businesses and politicians.

During his first and second terms, Park established himself as a fierce opponent of former conservative President Park Geun-hye.

He openly supported the millions of people who flooded the city streets in late 2016 and 2017, ousting her over a corruption scandal that March.

Park Geun-hye is currently serving a decades-long prison term on bribery and other charges.

Seoul has been a new epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in South Korea since the Asian country eased its rigid social distancing rules in early May.

Authorities are now struggling to trace contacts amid surges in cases linked to nightclubs, church services, a huge e-commerce warehouse and door-to-door sellers.


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