South Korea’s Political Violence: Opposition Leader Lee Jae-myung Attacked in Busan


The tranquility of South Korea’s political landscape was shattered when Lee Jae-myung, the opposition leader who narrowly lost the 2022 presidential race, fell victim to a shocking attack during a visit to Busan. The brazen stabbing incident sent shockwaves through the nation, drawing widespread condemnation and raising concerns about political security.

The Attack: A Startling Incident

  • Assault on Lee Jae-myung: Lee Jae-myung, addressing reporters during a visit to a construction site in Busan, was approached by an assailant under the pretext of seeking an autograph. Suddenly, the attacker lunged forward, stabbing Lee in the neck with an 18cm knife purchased online.
  • Immediate Arrest: Swift action from onlookers led to the attacker’s immediate arrest. Videos circulating on social media captured the chaotic aftermath as Lee collapsed, with individuals attempting to restrain the assailant.

Condemnation and Political Fallout

  • Nationwide Shock: The daytime assault on Lee, a key political figure, prompted condemnation from across the political spectrum, including President Yoon Suk Yeol, who denounced the violence unequivocally.
  • Democratic Party’s Outcry: A spokesman for Lee’s Democratic Party labeled the attack a threat to democracy. Concerns mounted as medical staff feared injuries to Lee’s jugular vein, necessitating urgent surgery to prevent further bleeding.

Political Background and Future Prospects

  • Lee Jae-myung’s Profile: A former civil rights attorney with a poverty-stricken upbringing, Lee’s narrative stands in contrast to the affluent backgrounds of many politicians. Despite losing the 2022 election by a narrow margin, he remains a prominent figure.
  • Challenges and Allegations: Lee faces corruption allegations stemming from his tenure as mayor of Seongnam. He vehemently denies these charges, attributing them to political motivations.

 Security and Historical Context

  • South Korea’s Low Crime Rate: The country maintains a generally low crime rate, but periodic instances of political violence, such as stabbings and assaults targeting politicians, have punctuated its history.
  • Past Incidents: Previous attacks on political figures, including Song Young-gil in 2022 and Park Geun-hye in 2006, underscore the vulnerability of public figures despite stringent regulations on weapon possession.

    Societal Impact and Political Landscape

    • National Outcry and Solidarity: The attack on Lee Jae-myung has elicited solidarity among political rivals, highlighting a collective denouncement of violence within the South Korean political sphere. Such incidents spark a nationwide conversation on the need for enhanced security measures to safeguard public figures.
    • Disruption of Democratic Processes: The assault on prominent political figures can disrupt the democratic process, instilling fear and potentially deterring individuals from engaging in public service. It underlines the importance of ensuring a safe environment for political discourse and activities.

    Lee Jae-myung’s Resilience and Future

    • Resilience Amid Adversity: Despite facing allegations and challenges, Lee Jae-myung remains resilient, focusing on his commitment to addressing inequality and advocating for societal change. His journey from poverty to politics has resonated with many supporters.
    • Political Prospects: Lee’s determination and popularity position him as a potential candidate for future elections. His unwavering dedication to social justice and reform continues to resonate with sections of the electorate.

    Security and Political Violence

    • Striking a Balance: South Korea’s emphasis on maintaining a low crime rate while fostering an open, democratic society requires a delicate balance in ensuring security without impeding civil liberties.
    • Historical Context: The nation’s history bears instances of violence against political figures, marking critical junctures in its political evolution. Each incident prompts introspection and calls for heightened vigilance.

    International Perspectives and Impact

    • Global Attention: Incidents involving prominent political figures draw international attention, offering insight into South Korea’s political dynamics and the challenges faced in maintaining security for public officials.
    • Broader Implications: Such attacks echo beyond domestic boundaries, underscoring the global concern for political security and the need for robust preventive measures.


    The attack on Lee Jae-myung underscores the fragility of political security and the need for fortified safeguards to uphold democratic principles. As South Korea grapples with this alarming incident, a collective commitment to ensuring the safety of public figures becomes imperative to foster an environment conducive to open discourse and political participation.

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