South Korea: Opposition leader stabbed in neck by knife-wielding man

By: Reuters January 02,2024 - 01:07 PM

South Korea: opposition party leader Lee Jae-myung falls after being attacked by an unidentified man during his visit to Busan, South Korea, January 2, 2024.    Yonhap via REUTERS

South Korea’s opposition party leader Lee Jae-myung falls after being attacked by an unidentified man during his visit to Busan, South Korea, January 2, 2024. Yonhap via REUTERS

SEOUL    South Korea’s opposition Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung was stabbed in the neck during a visit to the southern city of Busan on Tuesday and was airlifted to a university hospital for treatment, party and fire officials said.

Lee, who narrowly lost the 2022 presidential election, was conscious and receiving emergency treatment after being attacked by an unidentified man while touring the site of a proposed airport, the officials told Reuters. 

READ: Tsunami hits South Korea’s east coast after massive Japan quake

Gash on neck

The attack left him with a gash of about 1 cm on his neck, YTN television reported. Hospital officials did not immediately confirm the details of his injury. 

Lee was airlifted by a fire department helicopter to the Pusan National University Hospital, a party official and emergency officials told Reuters.

“He is conscious and receiving treatment at the hospital,” a Democratic Party official told Reuters.

The assailant appeared to be a man in his 50s or 60s, who wore a paper crown with Lee’s name on it, news photographs showed.

READ: S. Korea’s east province urges evacuation after massive Japan quake

South Korea attack: How it happened

The man approached and asked for an autograph as Lee spoke among a throng of supporters and reporters, then lunged forward and attacked him, video footage showed. 

Jin Jeong-hwa, a Lee supporter who was at the scene livestreaming the event, told Reuters there were two dozen police officers present.

The assailant was quickly subdued by men including police officers, the footage showed. 

He was refusing to answer police questions about his motives, daily Busan Ilbo reported.

Video clips on YTN television and another posted on the social media platform X showed a man lunging at Lee with his arm stretched out. Lee grimaced and collapsed to the ground.

News photographs showed Lee lying on the ground with his eyes closed and bleeding, and people pressing a handkerchief against his neck.

READ: Kim orders military to ‘annihilate’ US, South Korea if provoked

President condemns attack

President Yoon Suk Yeol condemned the attack and instructed best care be given, his office said.

“This type of violence must never be tolerated under any circumstances,” his office quoted Yoon as saying.

A former governor of Gyeonggi province, Lee narrowly lost to conservative Yoon, a former chief prosecutor, in the 2022 presidential election. He has led the main opposition party since August 2022.

Lee is currently on trial for alleged bribery stemming from a development project when he was mayor of Seongnam near Seoul. He has denied any wrongdoing.

South Korea’s next parliamentary elections are slated for April.

History of political violence

South Korea has a history of political violence although it has strict restrictions on gun possession. There is police presence at major events but political leaders are not normally under close security protection. 

Lee’s predecessor, Song Young-gil, was attacked in 2022 at a public event by an assailant who swung a blunt object against his head, causing a laceration. 

Then conservative opposition party leader Park Geun-hye, who later served as president, was stabbed at an event in 2006 and suffered a gash on her faced that required surgery.

Her father, Park Chung-hee, who was president for 16 years after taking power in a military coup, was shot and killed by his disgruntled spy chief in 1979 at a drunken private dinner.

In 2015, then U.S. ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was attacked by an assailant while attending a public event, suffering a large gash on his face. 


PH, South Korea boost labor, trade, security agenda

Tabogon fiesta attack: Laborer mauled to death by 18 men


Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: opposition leader, South Korea, stabbed

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.