Man charged over stabbing of S Korea opposition leader Lee Jae-myung

A 67-year-old realty broker is taken to attend a review of his arrest warrant at the Busan District Court, South Korea, 4 January 2023

By Ece Goksedef

BBC News

A man suspected of stabbing South Korea’s opposition leader on Tuesday has been formally arrested on charges of attempted murder.

The man in his 60s, surnamed Kim, was caught and taken into police custody immediately after the attack.

The politician Lee Jae-myung is out of intensive care, meanwhile.

Lee was stabbed in the neck with a camping knife in the southern port city of Busan. The assailant allegedly posed as an autograph-seeker.

One of the doctors who operated on Lee told reporters that the victim was “smoothly recovering following surgery” that repaired a major vein in his neck.

“He requires continued observation due to concerns over additional infection and post-surgery complications due to the injury he suffered,” Professor Min Seung-kee said.

The motive for the attack is still not known, although Kim told reporters before attending a court hearing that he had submitted to police an eight-page note explaining his reasons.

He also said to the police that he intended to kill Lee, according to the Yonhap news agency.

The police investigation showed that he had followed Lee since last June, Yonhap added.

Kim reportedly has a history of extreme political views and bought the knife online. His formal arrest allows police to continue holding the suspect.

The stabbing shocked the nation and prompted questions about the safety of high-profile politicians. It was condemned by both Lee’s party and the country’s governing party.

South Korea has strict regulations around possession of guns and other weapons, and most public figures are not usually under tight security protection.

The country’s crime rate is generally low, although it saw a rise in mass stabbing attacks last year. There have also been a number of previous cases of politicians being attacked with weapons.

Lee, who leads the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DP), seeks to retain a parliamentary majority in the elections in April, after narrowly losing the 2022 presidential elections – by a mere 0.73% difference in votes – to President Yoon Suk Yeol’s conservative party.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *