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South Korean opposition leader stabbed at press conference

The leader of South Korea’s political opposition, Lee Jae-myung, was stabbed during a news conference in the southern port city of Busan on Tuesday morning.…

The leader of South Korea’s political opposition, Lee Jae-myung, was stabbed during a news conference in the southern port city of Busan on Tuesday morning.

The assailant, a man in his 60s to 70s, reportedly approached Lee under the pretence of seeking an autograph before unexpectedly stabbing him on the left side of his neck with a weapon about 20cm to 30cm long.

Despite a 1cm laceration, Lee was treated at the hospital while conscious, and the authorities determined that his injuries were not life-threatening.

The attacker was apprehended on the spot. Social media videos showed Lee collapsing into the crowd and then onto the ground as onlookers tried to subdue the assailant.

The attacker’s motive and identity remain unknown, according to a South Korean news agency, Yonhap.

Lee, who narrowly lost the presidential election in 2022, presently retains a legislative seat in Incheon and is expected to compete in the following general election in April. He is also largely projected to run in the 2027 presidential elections.

Following the event, Lee was evacuated to Seoul National University Hospital, where medical personnel raised concern about a possible jugular vein injury.

A spokesman for Lee’s Democratic Party of Korea, Kwon Chil-seung, condemned the incident, calling it a clear act of democracy destruction.

“After being transferred to Seoul National University Hospital, we intend to begin operations as soon as possible. We strongly condemn the attack and regard it as a clear act of democratic destruction,” he stated.

This event is the latest in a string of physical assaults against South Korean politicians, with Lee’s predecessor, Song Young-gil, surviving an assault with a blunt object while campaigning for Lee in March 2022.

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