Opposition leader who nearly became president stabbed in neck

Opposition leader who nearly became president stabbed in neck
South Korea's opposition leader Lee Jae myung

The leader of South Korea's political opposition has been stabbed at a news conference in the southern port city of Busan, Yonhap news agency reports.

Lee Jae-myung, who narrowly lost the presidential elections in 2022, was stabbed on the left side of his neck on Tuesday morning.

The male attacker was arrested at the scene.

Mr Lee sustained a 1cm laceration on his neck and was treated in the hospital while conscious, Yonhap said.

The attacker who appeared to be in his 50s or 60s, reportedly approached Mr Lee asking for an autograph, before suddenly lunging forward to stab him.

Videos of the attack on social media show Mr Lee first collapsing into the crowd and then onto the ground, while several people try to restrain the attacker. Photographs after the incident show Mr Lee lying on the ground with his eyes closed as someone presses a handkerchief to the side of his neck.

Yonhap said he was airlifted to hospital in a helicopter.

Mr Lee, 59, leads the Democratic Party of Korea. He is not currently a member of South Korea's legislature but is widely expected to run for a seat in the next general election, which will take place in April 2024.

He narrowly lost the 2022 presidential elections - by a mere 0.73% difference in votes - to current President Yoon Suk-yeol, making it the closest presidential race in South Korean history. He is widely expected to stand in the next presidential elections in 2027.

Since then he has been indicted on corruption and breach of trust charges, with prosecutors accusing him of allowing private developers to profit illegally from a property project while he was mayor of Seongnam, a city of 1 million people to the south of Seoul. Mr Lee has denied those charges, calling them politically motivated.

In September a court dismissed a request from the prosecution for him to be held in custody while he awaited trial on the charges. Prosecutors are still investigating him on a number of other cases linked to corruption while he was in office.

The court's order came three weeks after Mr Lee began a hunger strike to protest Mr Yoon's foreign and domestic policies. Mr Lee had to be hospitalised because of the strike.

Source: BBC 

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