OAN’s Abril Elfi
11:38 AM – Tuesday, January 2, 2024
South Korea Opposition Leader Lee Jae-myung was stabbed in the neck during his visit to Busan.
On Tuesday, 59-year-old Lee was stabbed in the neck by an unidentified man who came up to him, asking for an “autograph.” The man then suddenly pulled out a knife and attempted to kill him.
Lee, the head of the main opposition Democratic Party, had to be airlifted to a hospital in Seoul after he received emergency treatment in Busan.
Lee’s political party later reported that he was recovering at an intensive care unit following a two-hour surgery.
Busan police officer Sohn Jae-han spoke at a briefing and described the incident. He explained that the attacker had approached Lee for an autograph as he walked through a crowd of journalists and then the man abruptly stabbed him in the left side of his neck.
According to Sohn, the suspect is around 67-years-old and he reportedly bought the 7-inch knife online.
Videos on social media have shown the attacker attempting to pose as a supporter of Lee, wearing a paper crown that said “I’m Lee Jae-myung.”
Party spokesman Kwon Chil-seung informed reporters that the politician had undergone revascularization surgery at the Seoul National University Hospital due to damage to his jugular vein.
Lee was also reported to be conscious by police and emergency personnel and was not in critical condition.
Lee’s Democratic Party said that the incident was “a terrorist attack on Lee and a serious threat to democracy.”
Police are now investigating the motive for the attack.
Lee lost the 2022 presidential election to current President Yoon Suk Yeol by 0.7 % points, which was reportedly the narrowest margin ever recorded in a South Korean presidential election.
Lee has been a harsh critic of Yoon’s main policies ever since his defeat. In protest of Yoon’s alleged lack of opposition to Japan’s release of treated radioactive wastewater from its crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, his handling of the nation’s post-pandemic economy, and his strict stance on North Korea, Lee had staged a 24-hour hunger strike last year.
In Seongnam, where Lee served as mayor from 2010 to 2018, one of the many corruption charges against him is that he allegedly “gave illegal favors to a private investor who made enormous profits” from a questionable housing project.
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