Bridge jump stunt goes wrong for anti-feminist
A self-declared anti-feminist and men’s rights advocate remains missing after he jumped off the Mapo Bridge on Friday afternoon in a botched publicity stunt. He was trying to draw attention to a civic group he founded called “Man of Korea” and raise donations for the financially troubled group.
As of late yesterday, the body of 45-year-old Sung Jae-gi had not been found despite search efforts in which more than 60 rescue workers and 10 rescue boats were mobilized. But the search has been hampered by the same factors that likely made the stunt go wrong: the surging water level and strong currents caused by the recent monsoon rains.
Western Seoul’s Mapo Bridge is nicknamed “Suicide Bridge” because it has the highest number of suicide attempts of all 27 bridges spanning the Han River. Dressed in business attire, Sung climbed over the edge of the bridge and let go.
Three men were on hand to record the scene. One was a KBS cameraman dispatched to cover the story, and the other two were from Man of Korea. They both had camcorders. They told police that he was not trying to commit suicide and that he had told them not to worry, as he was a strong swimmer.
The state-run broadcaster has come under fire for doing nothing to stop the man from jumping. KBS claims the cameraman called emergency workers both before and after the jump.
Mapo police are questioning Man of Korea members and are considering charges of assisted suicide.
Sung has called for enhanced social status for men in Korea and the abolishment of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, as he says it works to create an unfavorable social perception of men. He also argued for the reinstatement of an extra point system that rewards men who have completed their military service with special consideration in the recruitment process for government jobs. The system was abolished in 1999.
A day before carrying out his likely fatal stunt, Sung posted a message on his group’s Web site announcing his plan and asking people to donate money.
“With my life at stake, I hereby request that citizens give Man of Korea a last opportunity... I ask you to lend us 100 million won [$89,800].”
Below the message were bank account numbers for wire transfer donations.
BY KANG JIN-KYU [firstname.lastname@example.org]