South Korea Opposition Leader Lee Jae-myung Stabbed in Neck

On January 2, 2024, South Korea’s opposition leader, Lee Jae-myung, was stabbed in the neck. The attacker, a 67-year-old man, stabbed Lee in the neck with an 18cm knife purchased online, leading to condemnation from political leaders, including President Yoon Suk Yeol.

Lee Jae-myung Stabbed in Neck

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Lee Jae-myung, who lost the 2022 presidential election, sustained a 1cm laceration on the left side of his neck.

The 66-year-old attacker, armed with an 18cm knife purchased online, approached Lee under the guise of seeking an autograph.

The attacker lunged forward and stabbed the opposition leader, leading to a scene captured on live television. Medical staff reported that the injuries were not life-threatening.

The attack happened as Lee addressed reporters at a news conference during his visit to a construction site in the port of Busan.

The attacker, masquerading as a supporter, approached Lee for an autograph before suddenly lunging forward with a knife.

The attacker was subdued by onlookers and arrested. Lee suffered a 1cm laceration on the left side of his neck but was airlifted to the hospital, where doctors confirmed that his injuries were not life-threatening.

The motive behind the attack remains unclear. The attacker reportedly expressed an intention to kill Lee, and prosecutors are planning to bring attempted murder charges against him.

The attack made condemnation from various political parties and leaders, including President Yoon Suk Yeol.

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Political parties and leaders from across the spectrum, including President Yoon Suk Yeol, condemned the attack.

President Yoon expressed deep concern over Lee Jae-myung’s safety, addressing that such acts of violence should never be tolerated.

The opposition leader’s party, the Democratic Party of Korea, labeled the incident as a clear act of democracy destruction.

Prosecutors plan to bring attempted murder charges against the 67-year-old attacker, who was subdued and arrested at the scene. The investigation aims to uncover the motives behind the attack and ensure justice is served.

Lee Jae-myung, a 59-year-old former civil rights attorney, grew up in poverty and worked in factories during his childhood.

His working class roots have been a central theme in his political career, advocating for social and economic equality.

Despite losing the 2022 presidential election by a margin of 0.73%, Lee remains a main figure in South Korean politics.

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Since the election, Lee has faced legal challenges, with corruption and breach of trust charges leveled against him.

Prosecutors accuse him of allowing private developers to profit illegally from a property project during his tenure as mayor of Seongnam. Lee denies these charges, dismissing them as politically motivated.

South Korea generally has a low crime rate, and the possession of guns and other weapons is strictly regulated.

However, this incident shows the vulnerability of political figures, as evidenced by previous attacks on politicians.

In March 2022, Lee’s predecessor as Democratic Party leader, Song Young-gil, was attacked with a blunt object while campaigning for Lee.

In 2006, conservative party leader Park Geun-hye, who later became president, was attacked with a knife, leaving a scar on her face.

Lee Jae-myung remains a main figure in South Korean politics. Widely expected to stand in the 2027 presidential elections, recent polls indicate that he continues to be a strong contender. His outspoken style on addressing economic inequality resonate with a portion of the population.

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