South Korean opposition leader in ICU after attack at press conference, party officials say

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(SEOUL, South Korea) — South Korea’s Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-Myung is hospitalized in an intensive care unit after going through surgery for internal jugular vein reconstruction on Tuesday, officials said.

Only one person a day can visit the patient, therefore no further information about his health status is available, but he is conscious, according to Democratic Party officials.

Lee was attacked in Busan, South Korea, on Tuesday, according to the Busan Metropolitan Police.

While walking with a group of reporters answering questions, the attacker approached Lee and stabbed him in the neck. Lee then collapsed on the ground. The moment was caught on video.

The man responsible for the attack is being held at the police station in Busan for investigation. Police are waiting for the arrest warrant to be issued.

Lee was transferred to Seoul National University Hospital via helicopter, Democratic Party spokesperson Kwon Chil-seung told journalists in front of Busan University Hospital on Tuesday.

Doctors found damage to Lee’s jugular vein, the spokesperson said at the time.

Lee was attacked while answering questions from the press after touring the site of Gadeokdo New Airport. The assailant approached him shouting for an autograph, and then attacked him, according to police.

Police confirmed that Lee suffered a wound that was about one centimeter wide.

Police briefed journalists on Tuesday, saying the suspect is a man born in 1957, adding that the exact circumstances of the attack are currently under investigation. The weapon allegedly used by the suspect is about 18 cm long and was purchased through the Internet, police said.

President Yoon Suk-yeol won the presidency over Lee in the 2022 general election.

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