A Bitter Race
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South Korean police on Wednesday raided the residence and office of a man who stabbed the country’s opposition leader in the neck earlier this week, an attack that shocked the nation and prompted calls for more security for politicians, the Associated Press reported.
On Tuesday, a 67-year-old man attacked Lee Jae-myung, the leader of the liberal opposition Democratic Party, while the latter was visiting the southeastern city of Busan.
Police said the attacker, who has not been officially identified, posed as a supporter and approached Lee asking for his autograph before stabbing him with a 6.7-inch knife. The opposition leader was rushed to hospital and was put into the intensive care unit for recovery.
Local media reported that Lee was later transferred to an ordinary ward.
Authorities detained the man, who confessed that he attempted to kill Lee and had plotted the attack alone. He did not detail a motive.
Busan police said they dispatched officers to search the suspect’s residence and office in the central city of Asan. They are also probing whether the man was a member of the Democratic Party or the People’s Power Party of President Yoon Suk Yeol.
Yoon condemned the attack as “an act of terror.”
Observers said the stabbing comes as South Korea becomes increasingly divided between conservatives and liberals following elections in 2022.
Lee lost to Yoon by 0.7 percentage points – the narrowest margin ever recorded in a South Korean presidential race. Even so, the opposition leader has remained a vocal critic of Yoon and has accused the president of pursuing a political vendetta through a series of corruption investigations targeting him.
The incident came just months before South Korea’s April parliamentary elections, according to the Wall Street Journal. Following the attack, the government has boosted security measures for high-profile politicians.