She filed a police report that her father "had left home four to five hours ago after leaving words like a will, with his phone now off", The Korea Herald reported. The mayor had his cell phone switched off, and reportedly had left a message resembling a will.
Police had been using drones and sniffer dogs across the city to locate him. He did not show up for work and his daughter said that his phone was switched off. The reasons behind Park's abrupt disappearance are not known.
The Seoul-based SBS television network reported that one of Park's secretaries had lodged a complaint with police on Wednesday night over alleged sexual harassment, such as unwanted physical contact that began in 2017. Park was originally slated to hold a meeting with Kim Sa-yeol, the head of the Presidential Committee for Balanced National Development, on the issue of urban-rural economic cooperation on Thursday afternoon.
Earlier, his daughter called the police at 5:17 pm when the mayor left a suspicious message before his phone turned off. Fire officer Jeong Jin-hyang said rescuers were using dogs to search risky areas on the hills, and helicopters would be deployed Friday morning if Park were not found overnight. The 64-year-old has been serving as Seoul mayor since 2011 and has often been considered a presidential hopeful for the 2022 elections.
Park is Seoul's first three-term mayor, having won re-elections by large margins in 2014 and 2018.
As a lawyer in the 1990s, he won one of South Korea's earliest cases on sexual harassment, and strongly advocated for the cause of "comfort women", those who were forced to work in Japan's wartime military brothels before and during World War Two, when Japan occupied Korea.
He clashed with the former president, Park Geun-hye, openly supporting millions of people who protested against her in 2017 and 2017, before she was eventually charged and imprisoned, on bribery and other charges.
Park Geun-hye was formally removed from office in March 2017 and is now serving a decades-long prison term on bribery and other charges.
As longtime mayor of the city of almost 10 million people, Park was one of the country's most influential politicians and played a high-profile role in its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Park Won-soon led an aggressive anti-virus campaign, shutting down thousands of nightspots and banning rallies in major downtown streets.