South Korean party says leader was attacked with a knife, he escaped unhurt

South Korean opposition leader Lee Jae-myung narrowly escaped a knife attack on his neck, a lawmaker from his party said on Wednesday.

“Medical staff in Busan claimed that if the attacker’s knife had hit Lee’s carotid artery, he would have died instantly,” lawmaker Jung Chung-rye said during a meeting of his Democratic Party on Wednesday.

“Lee is currently recovering in intensive care but his condition is so serious that it is difficult to visit him,” he said.

The Democratic Party leader was surrounded by reporters in the southern city of Busan on Tuesday when a man posing as a supporter attacked him and stabbed him on the left side of his neck.

He was taken to Busan Hospital with a neck wound, but was later flown to Seoul, where he underwent two hours of surgery.

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Police said on Wednesday they were seeking an arrest warrant for the 66-year-old suspect, identified only by the last name Kim, who was detained at the site of the attack, according to Yonhap news agency.

The provision will allow him to be arrested.

According to Yonhap, a district court issued a warrant to search the suspect’s home and office, saying the search focused on the motives of the attack.

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South Korean authorities intend to charge Kim with attempted murder.

Yonhap said the attacker confessed that he intended to kill Lee, 59.

“The attacker’s confession that he wanted to kill is completely shocking,” Jung said.

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