Police unlock late Seoul mayor’s iPhone in probe of his death

July 22, 2020

The police cracked the mobile phone of the late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon on Wednesday, investigators said, with the password apparently secured with the help of the victim of his alleged sexual abuse.

The unlocking of his iPhone is expected to accelerate the probe into the death of the ill-fated politician, who was found dead on a hillside in Seoul on July 10 in an apparent suicide, less than two days after a former secretary filed a sexual abuse complaint against him.

“In the presence of the representatives of the bereaved family and the Seoul city government, the police team began digital forensic procedures, including unlocking his mobile phone,” a police official said.

“Upon the analysis (of the content in the phone), we will sort out materials and continue our probe,” the official added.

The development came as a surprise, as observers predicted that the unlocking process might take months given the powerful security program installed on his phone, known to be the latest iPhone model.

The victim’s side is said to have provided the password.

The police probe currently focuses solely on verifying the cause of Park’s death. They need additional warrants if they want to gather information related to the allegations of his sexual misconduct.

Earlier in the day, civic groups representing the victim of the alleged sexual harassment by the late mayor called on the national rights commission to conduct an independent probe of the incident, rejecting the city government’s proposal to form a joint probe team.

They also urged city officials to take responsibility for contributing to what they claimed was a work culture that turned a blind eye to the abuse case.

This photo, taken on July 13, 2020, shows a portrait of the late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon at a cremation center in southern Seoul. (Yonhap)

This photo, taken on July 13, 2020, shows a portrait of the late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon at a cremation center in southern Seoul. (Yonhap)

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