South Korean Opposition Leader Lee Jae-myung Stabbed in Neck at Busan Press Conference

During a press conference in the southern port city of Busan, an assailant wielding an 11-inch knife viciously attacked Lee Jae-myung, the leader of the opposition Democratic Party, shaking South Korea with a startling act of violence. 

The assailant, wielding an 11-inch knife, lunged at Lee, leaving him with a 1 cm gash in the neck—a shocking scene captured in graphic video footage.

An unidentified individual, estimated to be in their 50s or 60s, targeted Lee, a left-leaning 2022 presidential candidate, during a public appearance. 

Wearing a paper crown bearing Lee’s name, the attacker initially approached Lee under the guise of seeking an autograph before launching the assault, causing chaos and panic among attendees.

After being swiftly attended to and airlifted to a local university hospital, Lee, known for his tenure as mayor of Seongnam and subsequent governorship of Gyeonggi province, remained conscious and stable. 

However, concerns about potential severe bleeding around his jugular vein prompted his transfer to a hospital in Seoul for further surgery.

Although authorities have immediately arrested the unidentified and uncooperative assailant, no motive for the attack has been disclosed. Reports revealed that the suspect had attended a prior event with Lee in Busan and approached him under seemingly innocuous pretenses before the violent assault.

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Mayor Lee’s Injuries Spark Concern Amid Political Violence

south-korean-opposition-leader-lee-jae-myung-stabbed-neck-busan-press-conference
During a press conference in the southern port city of Busan, an assailant wielding an 11-inch knife viciously attacked Lee Jae-myung, the leader of the opposition Democratic Party, shaking South Korea with a startling act of violence.

The Democratic Party expressed apprehension about the severity of Lee’s injuries, highlighting the potential risks associated with significant bleeding in the vicinity of vital arteries.

During his tenure as mayor of Seongnam, Lee Jae-myung, a former human rights lawyer turned politician, faced a legal battle concerning alleged bribery in relation to a development project. 

He vehemently denies the allegations, dismissing them as politically motivated fabrications.

His political career gained prominence during the 2022 presidential race, characterized by his proposals for a universal basic income, warmer inter-Korean relations, and progressive gender policies, which resonated with sections of the electorate.

President Yoon Suk Yeol swiftly condemned the assault, denouncing it as unacceptable and urging the best possible care for Lee’s recovery.

This episode of political violence recalls previous incidents in South Korea’s history, including attacks on political figures like Lee’s predecessor, Song Young-gil, and former opposition leader Park Geun-hye, underscoring the nation’s complex relationship with political security despite stringent gun control laws. 

As investigations continue, the motive behind the attack on Lee Jae-myung remains a perplexing puzzle for authorities in South Korea.

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