South Korean opposition leader Lee Jae-myung stabbed in Busan

An unidentified man stabbed Lee Jae-myung, the leader of South Korea’s opposition party, in the neck while he was visiting Busan on Tuesday.

Lee Jae-myung, the leader of the Democratic Party and the main opposition candidate in the 2022 presidential election, was stabbed in the neck by a knife-wielding man during a public event in Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city, on Tuesday morning.

According to the Busan emergency office, Lee was inspecting the construction sites of a new airport project in the city when he was attacked by the assailant, who was disguised as a supporter and asked for an autograph.

Lee was conscious and bleeding heavily when he was rushed to the Pusan National University Hospital by an ambulance. He was later transferred by a helicopter to the Seoul National University Hospital for surgery. Sources from the Democratic Party said that Lee lost a lot of blood due to the stabbing, but his exact condition was not disclosed.

The police arrested the attacker, who was described as a man in his 60s or 70s, at the scene. He was wearing a headpiece that resembled a crown. The motive of the attack and the identity of the weapon, which was estimated to be 20 to 30 centimeters long, were not yet known.

Lee, a former governor of Gyeonggi Province, is a controversial figure in South Korean politics. He has a strong base of supporters who admire his anti-establishment and reformist agenda, as well as a fierce opposition who accuse him of being a populist and a divisive leader. He narrowly lost the presidential election to Yoon Suk-yeol, the former prosecutor general and the candidate of the ruling conservative People’s Power Party (PPP), in December 2022.

Both President Yoon and PPP leader Han Dong-hoon expressed their condemnation of the attack and their sympathy for Lee. They also urged the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and ensure the safety of public figures, in a context where the threats of North Korea are also increasing.

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