(LibertySociety.com) – South Korea’s liberal opposition leader Lee Jae-myung was stabbed in the neck on January 2 in Busan after touring the potential site of a future airport in the city. Lee was walking through a crowd of people when an unidentified man approached him for an autograph. The man then stabbed him in the neck.
According to Busan police officer Sohn Jae-han, Democratic Party officials grabbed hold of the man until he was detained by police. Lee was taken by air to Seoul National University Hospital and admitted to the intensive care unit after undergoing a two-hour surgery. One witness reported that Lee lost a lot of blood after the stabbing, although someone did hold a handkerchief over the wound.
Sohn reported that the 67-year-old suspect told investigators that he had purchased the knife online, but no motive had been established. The Associated Press reported that the suspect admitted to planning to kill Lee and police subsequently conducted a raid of his home on January 3. The Democratic Party claimed that the stabbing was an act of terror and “a serious threat to democracy.” A spokesperson for the Party said that Lee suffered damage to his jugular vein, but police reported that he was fully conscious and in stable condition. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who defeated Lee in 2022, ordered an investigation into the attack and said that his administration would not tolerate that type of violence.
Lee is considered a populist Democrat and campaigns mostly by criticizing conservatives. He has been vocal in his disapproval of Yoon’s policies and hopes to become the next president in 2027 after Yoon’s 5-year term ends.
Lee was accused of corruption during his 10 years serving as mayor of Seongnam. He was also the governor of Gyeonggi Province from 2018 to 2021. Lee is not the first political leader to be the victim of a stabbing. Six years before she was elected president of South Korea in 2012, then-conservative opposition leader Park Guen-hye was stabbed with a box cutter during a rally, resulting in 60 stitches to her face.
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