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(LEAD) Body of men's rights activist found in Han River

2013/07/29 20:25

(ATTN: RECASTS lead; UPDATES with more information throughout)

SEOUL, July 29 (Yonhap) -- The body of a 46-year-old activist was found floating in the Han River on Monday, police and fire officials said, three days after he had jumped off a bridge to appeal for public donations to his organization.

Sung Jae-gi, leader of the male rights group "Man of Korea," threw himself from the Mapo Bridge on Friday after announcing he would do so a day earlier through an online posting.

Officials said they discovered Sung's body was around 4:15 p.m., more than 1.4 kilometers from the Mapo Bridge.

An initial autopsy confirmed the body to be that of Sung, police officers said.

Sung wrote "Tomorrow I will jump into the Han River" on his group's website on Thursday, saying that he would risk his life in a desperate attempt to generate 100 million won (US$89,970) in donations to pay off his group's debt.

The shocking incident also sparked controversy after photographs appeared on Sung's Twitter showing him falling into the river after letting go of the outer side of the bridge.

Four people, including a senior member of Sung's group, who were at the scene when he jumped have been accused of abetting suicide by not trying to stop him from jumping into the river.

Police, however, said that four are unlikely to be charged.

"Charging someone for abetting a suicide is possible only if the accused had the intention of pushing someone to take his or her life and if the person intended to commit suicide," a police officer close to the investigation said.

"An investigation shows that (Sung) considered his act a performance, without any intention (to commit suicide)," the officer said, adding that Sung's death is judged to be an accident.

Sung launched his male rights group in January 2008. A declared anti-feminist, he has led a campaign against South Korean laws which he believed are unfairly favorable to women and advocated equal treatment of men. One of his centerpiece campaigns was for abolishing the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, a government agency that handles women's issues.

He had recently filed a court injunction to stop the distribution of a girl group's music video he said was derogatory to soldiers, who are mostly male.

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