South Korean Opposition Leader Gets Stabbed in Busan

( – The leader of South Korea’s main opposition party has been hospitalized after an attack by a crazed knifeman. Lee Jae-myung was visiting the country’s busiest port city when he was stabbed. His injuries aren’t serious, and his assailant has been arrested.

On January 2, Lee, the leader of South Korea’s Democratic Party, visited the southeastern city of Busan to tour the site of a new airport. During the visit, he greeted a crowd of supporters. Images from the event show a middle-aged man wearing a paper crown with Lee’s name on it approaching the politician — then lunging at his neck with a seven-inch knife.

Lee then collapsed to the ground while police moved in to arrest the attacker. More photos show Lee on the ground, apparently unconscious, while bystanders hold a handkerchief against his neck. South Korean media later reported that he received a gash a centimeter (just under half an inch) long.

Lee was airlifted to the nearby Pusan National University Hospital, arriving there around 20 minutes after the assault, and received surgery to repair damage to his jugular vein. A Democratic Party spokesman said the surgery took longer than expected and they were “closely following” Lee’s progress.

The attacker, who has been identified as a man named Kim who was born in 1957, has admitted that his aim was to assassinate Lee. Busan Metropolitan Police Agency says it plans to charge him with attempted murder. So far they don’t know if he was a member of a rival political party, but it seems this wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment attack. Video of another visit to Busan by Lee, last December, shows Kim in the crowd wearing the same paper hat. On that occasion, it seems he wasn’t able to get close enough to launch his attack.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol slammed the attack and said he hoped Lee would make a fast recovery from his injuries.

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