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Funeral of Seoul mayor held amid allegations of sexual abuse

SEOUL – Friends, family and colleagues attended the small funeral on Monday (July 13) for the long-time mayor of Seoul, one of the country’s most prominent elected officials, who leaves a complex legacy amid a criminal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment.

Mayor Park Won-soon was found dead last Friday; he left a note thanking and apologising to “everyone”. Police did not give a cause of death but said there was no sign of foul play.

His death came days after one of Mr Park’s former secretaries filed a complaint alleging that the 64-year-old had sexually harassed her, prompting a police investigation.

A representative of his family issued a statement vowing legal action against those who spread “groundless statements”, without elaborating.

The funeral, hosted by the city government at the city hall and live broadcast online, was limited to around 100 people because of coronavirus concerns.

“Mourning doesn’t necessarily exclude soul-searching, but now is time to mourn,” said Mr Paik Nak-chung, a literary critic who helped lead the funeral.

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