In a shocking incident today, Lee Jae-myung, chairman of South Korea’s Democratic Party and the country’s opposition leader, was stabbed in the neck during a visit to Busan.
The assailant, a male suspect in his 60s from south Choongchung province, is currently in custody and is expected to face “attempted murder charges.”
The attack took place at the construction site of a new airport in Busan, where Lee was visiting. The suspect approached Lee under the pretense of seeking an autograph before swiftly stabbing him in the left side of the neck with a 7-inch-long knife.
Quick action by Lee’s security personnel restrained the attacker, preventing further harm.
Lee, who lost the 2022 presidential election by a narrow margin of 0.7 percentage points, was immediately airlifted to Seoul National University Hospital.
Reports suggest that the injury is not life-threatening, and Lee is conscious and stable after undergoing a two-hour surgery. However, medical professionals are monitoring him closely for potential jugular vein damage.
The South Korean President, Yoon Suk Yeol, has ordered a thorough investigation into the incident, emphasizing “zero tolerance to violence.”
The president expressed concern for Lee’s well-being and urged authorities to ensure he receives the best possible care.
This is not the first time a prominent South Korean political figure has been targeted. In 2022, Lee’s predecessor, Song Young-gil, faced an attack with a hammerlike object.
The incident draws unsettling parallels to the 2015 attack on U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert and the 2006 stabbing of conservative party leader Park Geun-Hye, who later became the country’s president and faced legal consequences over a corruption scandal.
Lee, currently facing corruption allegations himself, has denied any wrongdoing and accused the government of pursuing a political vendetta.
The motive behind today’s attack remains unclear, and authorities are diligently working to unravel the details surrounding this act of violence, condemning it as an assault on democracy.
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