South Korean opposition leader attacked with knife during a press conference

(CNN) — Lee Jae-myung, the leader of South Korea’s main opposition party, was stabbed with a knife during a visit to the southern city of Busan on Tuesday, leaving him bloodied but conscious, party officials said.

According to a Democratic Party official, Lee was visiting construction sites at Gaedeokdo New Airport when he was attacked on the left side of his neck while speaking to a crowd of journalists.

Lee remains “in conscious state” in hospital, according to his party leader Hong Ik-pyo, who said it will take some time to fully evaluate Lee’s condition and his treatment plan.

Democratic Party spokesman Kwon Chil-seung said Lee suffered a wound of about 1 cm with “suspected jugular vein damage” after the knife attack.

Lee will undergo surgery after being transferred from Busan National University Hospital to Seoul National University Hospital after doctors fear he may suffer additional bleeding, Kwon said.

Kwon did not specify the severity of the injury.

Footage of the brazen attack, captured live on television during the press conference, showed an unidentified man in front of the crowd suddenly pounce on Lee and attack his neck, causing him to fall backwards.

Subsequently, several people struggled to pin the attacker to the ground and pin him down.

The photos show Lee lying on the ground with his eyes closed and a scarf around his neck. A small amount of blood was visible in some of them.

According to the Presidential Office, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol expressed “deep concern” for Lee’s safety following the attack.

According to the office, Yoon stressed that this type of violence “should not be tolerated under any circumstances” and ordered police to quickly investigate.

Democratic Party leader Hong called on party members to remain calm and avoid making political interpretations of the incident.

South Korean politics has been marked by deep polarization, especially in recent years, when former President Park Geun-hye was jailed for abuse of power and bribery and was pardoned and released in 2021. was given.

Lee, 59, a former Liberal provincial governor, lost by a narrow margin to Yun of the conservative People Power Party in the March 2022 presidential election.

Lee became leader of the Democratic Party five months later and is preparing his party for April parliamentary elections.

South Korea has seen high-profile incidents of political violence in the past.

Lee’s predecessor in the Democratic Party, Song Young-gil, was hit on the head by a man with a hammer during a campaign event for Lee’s 2022 presidential bid.

At a press conference held this Tuesday, Democratic Party spokesman Kwon Chil-seung described the attack against Lee as an act of “terrorism” and a “serious threat to national security.”

(TagstoTranslate)South Korea

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