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Police continue search for missing men's rights activist

All Headlines 13:59 July 27, 2013

SEOUL, July 27 (Yonhap) -- Police said Saturday that they are continuing the search for a missing 46-year-old man who jumped off a bridge into the Han River the previous day as part of a publicity stunt to garner donations for a men's rights activist group.

Sung Jae-gi, head of the men's rights advocacy group, jumped off the Mapo Bridge into the river that bisects Seoul on Friday after posting a notice online about his intentions one day earlier.

Police and rescue workers have been searching for him, but he is still missing.

"Recent rain has raised water levels, making it difficult to continue the search," said an official at a fire station.

On Thursday, Sung wrote a controversial note titled, "Tomorrow, I'll jump to Han River," on the civic group's website, saying that he will risk his life in a desperate attempt to generate 100 million won (US$89,970) in donations to pay off the agency's debts.

The civic group, named "Man of Korea," has claimed that the issue of gender equality in Korea only centers on boosting women's rights, saying that Korean men are facing reverse discrimination.

This case has sparked controversy concerning onlookers at the scene for allegedly abetting Sung's dangerous actions by not trying to stop him from jumping into the river.

An unidentified member of the civic group uploaded a photo onto Sung's Twitter account of him falling after letting go of the bride. The photo also shows three other men holding cameras and camcorders.

Police are investigating the people who were at the scene, saying that if Sung is found dead, they may be accused of abetting suicide.

After undergoing a police probe, Han Seung-oh, an official at the civic group, told reporters that Sung's jump into the river was intended as a "risky performance" to plead for donations to resolve the group's financial difficulties.

"It was regrettable that the performance evolved into such an incident. But it was not a suicide attempt," Han said.

Sung, a declared anti-feminist, established the men's rights group in January 2008, leading a campaign to abolish the ministry of gender equality, the government agency responsible for handling women's issues.

Police officers visited Sung's office and house on Thursday out of concern about his reckless plan, but he declined to talk with police, according to the authorities.

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