South Korean opposition leader stabbed 'recovering well' - doctor

South Korean opposition leader stabbed 'recovering well' – doctor

South Korean opposition leader Lee Jae-myung, who was stabbed in the neck, is recovering well but still requires close observation to avoid complications, doctors at Seoul National University Hospital said Thursday.

As Lee was surrounded by journalists in the southern port city of Busan on Tuesday, an assailant posing as a supporter pushed through the crowd and stabbed Lee in the left side of his neck with a knife.

A court in Busan on Thursday issued an arrest warrant for a 66-year-old suspect identified by the surname Kim, who was taken into custody at the scene, Yonhap News reported.

After the attack, Lee, who sustained a wound to his jugular vein, was first taken to a hospital in Busan, then flown to the capital Seoul, where he underwent surgery for about two hours.

Dr. Min Seung-gi, who performed the surgery, said that Lee is “fortunately recovering well.''

Min told a news conference that Lee suffered “a 1.4-centimeter stab wound that cut into the muscle,” adding that “there was bleeding” on his neck.

The surgeon said the knife “severed approximately 60 percent of the internal jugular vein.”

“But fortunately, there were no signs of damage to his arteries, cranial nerves, throat or airways.”

Lee is improving, but will need to continue to be closely monitored as complications may arise from the wound, Min said.

Thursday's press conference was Lee's first since his surgery at a Seoul hospital and came after the party leader was moved from the intensive care unit to a general ward on Wednesday.

Mr. Lee's Democratic Party argued that had the attacker's knife hit an artery rather than a vein, Mr. Lee could have been killed, calling it “pure luck.”

Lee lost to President Yoon Seok-yeol in 2022 in the closest presidential election in South Korean history.

– Flight risk –
Seoul's Yonhap news agency reported that a court in Busan had issued an arrest warrant for Kim, citing the possibility of him fleeing.

Prosecutors had requested an arrest warrant for attempted murder.

The warrant allows authorities to keep the suspect in custody, but the suspect was overpowered and arrested at the scene.

Kim told reporters on Thursday that he had submitted an eight-page “statement of defense” to police and that reporters should refer to it to explain the reasons behind the attack.

Police have not released this document.

According to Yonhap News, Kim worked as a real estate agent in South Chungcheong Province, about 115 kilometers south of Seoul.

Yonhap News reported that Kim is facing financial difficulties and has not been able to pay the rent for his office for seven months, citing a registered mail delivery message from the bank where Kim works. Ta.

In the past few years, several prominent South Korean politicians have been attacked in public.

In 2022, an elderly man hit Song Yong-gil, who had led the Democratic Party before Lee, in the head with a blunt object.

In 2006, Park Geun-hye, then leader of the Conservative Party and later president, was assaulted with a knife at a rally. The attack left a scar on her face.


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