(CTN News) – Lee Jae-myung, the leader of South Korea’s opposition party, is presently undergoing medical treatment at the hospital after being stabbed in the neck while visiting the city of Busan.
The assailant, a 67-year-old man, utilized an 18cm knife that he had purchased online. Alarmingly, the attacker was observed wearing a paper crown bearing Lee Jae-Myung name. Initially, he approached Lee pretending to ask for an autograph, but suddenly lunged forward and executed the assault.
Thankfully, the assailant was swiftly apprehended and taken into custody. Photographs captured the distressing scene, showing Lee Jae-Myung lying on the ground with closed eyes, while onlookers applied pressure to his neck using a handkerchief.
Lee was expeditiously transported to Pusan National University Hospital and subsequently transferred to Seoul National University Hospital, where he underwent surgery.
Kwon Chil-seung, a party spokesperson, provided an update stating that Lee Jae-Myung is presently in the intensive care unit, recuperating and conscious.
This shocking incident transpired during a question-and-answer session with journalists following Lee’s visit to the construction site of a new airport on Gadeok Island, situated just off the coast of Busan.
Lee, who was born into poverty in Andong, initially had to forego attending middle school and instead work in a factory. However, he persevered and eventually achieved his goal of becoming a qualified lawyer, specializing in civil rights.
As the leader of the left-leaning Democratic party, Lee faced a challenging presidential race in 2022 and narrowly lost to conservative candidate Yoon Suk Yeol. Despite this setback, recent polls suggest that Lee remains a strong contender and is widely expected to run for president again in 2027.
After an attack on Lee, President Yoon condemned the violence and stressed that such acts should never be tolerated.
He expressed deep concern for Lee Jae-Myung well-being and instructed local authorities to ensure he receives the best medical care. Additionally, President Yoon called for a thorough police investigation into the incident.
Currently, Lee Jae-Myung is undergoing trial for alleged bribery related to a development project during his time as mayor of Seongnam.
However, he vehemently denies any wrongdoing, dismissing the accusations as “fiction” and a “political conspiracy.”
While South Korea has strict regulations on gun possession and relatively low rates of violent crime, the country has a history of political violence involving other weapons.
In 2006, the conservative opposition party leader Park Geun-hye, who later became president, was attacked with a knife at an event, resulting in a facial injury that required surgery.
Furthermore, the 1980 student uprising in response to a military takeover was met with brutal suppression, leading to numerous deaths and injuries among protesters in Gwangju, inflicted by paratroopers and other military units.