Assailant planned to murder opposition leader Lee Jae-myung: police

By Park Sae-jin Posted : January 2, 2024, 17:47 Updated : January 2, 2024, 17:47
Photograph by Yoo Dae-gil  dbeorlf123ajunewscom
[Photograph by Yoo Dae-gil =]

SEOUL -- The police have obtained a statement from the assailant who stabbed the neck of the opposition Democratic Party leader, Lee Jae-myung, with a knife. The man in his 60s told the police that he had planned to murder the politician, who had competed against President Yoon Suk-yeol in the 2022 presidential election.

Lee was hospitalized after being stabbed in the neck by the attacker during his visit to the southern port city of Busan on January 2. The Democratic Party leader was inspecting the site for a new airport on Gadeok Island southwest of Busan with fellow lawmakers. While answering reporters' questions and moving at about 10:27 a.m. (0127 GMT), the assailant approached Lee with a knife, striking him on the left side of his neck.

According to the police, Lee was transported to a hospital by an ambulance about 20 minutes after the incident. A Democratic Party spokesman told reporters that doctors suspect damage to the carotid artery and the possibility of hemorrhage. Lee received emergency treatment at Busan University Hospital and was airlifted to Seoul National University Hospital in central Seoul at about 1:00 p.m.

The special investigation team at the Busan Police Agency told reporters that they are investigating the attacker on charges of attempted second-degree murder. The man was subdued by police and Democratic Party members immediately after stabbing Lee in the neck. According to investigators, the attacker stated that his criminal motive was to murder Lee.

Photographs released by the police showed that the weapon the assailant used was a camping knife approximately 18 centimeters (seven inches) long. He also informed the police that he bought the knife from an online store in 2023. The police stated that they would continue the investigation to gather more information.
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