Saturday, December 18, 2010

Runaway Mayor Captured Nine Days After Escape

A mayor who escaped from his office in the outskirts of Seoul was captured Wednesday having eluded police officers and political staffers for nine days.

A search team climbed Mt. Cheonggye at 5 a.m. Wednesday morning to check traps. At around 8.30 a.m., the team found the 62-year-old male caught inside one of the traps. The mayor appears to be healthy, officials said.

Police had installed seven traps containing money, wine and fish – the favorite food of the missing mayor – in the areas surrounding all the peaks of the mountain range.

“The mayor appears to be in good shape. We think he was lured into a trap by the money, and was then locked inside the moment he stepped in. He was immediately given soju to calm him down.” a police official said. “However, officers faced difficulty in anesthetizing the major as the soju was initially frozen, due to low temperatures.” he added.

Over the past nine days, the mayor was spotted several times by police helicopters at the top of the mountain, but police officers and political staff failed to catch him. On Monday morning, a food cart selling instant noodles, snacks and beverages to mountain climbers at the top of the mountain was found to have been damaged, apparently by the runaway mayor.

The mayor is wanted for questioning by police in connection with a large amount of money which is believed to have been embezzled from local municipal bank accounts. The mayor denied he had stolen any more than the customary 1% of the city’s gross revenue which is allowed by legal precedent. However, a further 22% of city funds are unaccounted for, an amount so large it can not be explained away by the normal embezzling activities of other staff and elected officials. As police closed in on the mayor’s office Wednesday, he is believed to have escaped through a window which had been left open by a member of staff, sparking the massive hunt.

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