South Korean Lawmaker Injured After Being Struck on Head With Rock-Like Object

Bianca Echa

South Korean Lawmaker Injured After Being Struck on Head With Rock-Like Object

SEOUL, South Korea — A South Korean governing party lawmaker was treated for lacerations at a Seoul hospital after being attacked Thursday by an unidentified man who struck her head with a rock-like object, South Korean police and fire officials said.

A police official in Seoul’s Apgujeong district said a suspect was arrested at the scene of the attack on lawmaker Bae Hyunjin in southern Seoul.

The attack, which came weeks after a man stabbed opposition leader Lee Jae-myung in the neck in the southern city of Busan, raises further concerns about the country’s intensely polarized politics.

Read More: South Korean Opposition Leader, After Being Stabbed in Neck, Urges End to ‘Warlike Politics’

South Korean media, citing Bae’s aides, said the suspect approached her and asked whether she was really the lawmaker before striking her with what appeared to be a rock. Calls to Bae’s office weren’t immediately answered.

Bae, a former television news presenter, was elected in 2020 and is seen as a close confident of President Yoon Suk Yeol.

Park Sukh Que, a neurosurgeon at the Soonchunhyang University Seoul Hospital, said Bae sustained minor injuries to the head, including scratches and a cut, and was hospitalized in stable condition.

The force of the attack caused Bae to fall on the back of her head, but there were no signs of a concussion or internal bleeding, Park said.

“Fortunately, the bleeding wasn’t very serious,” Park said at a news conference. “She does have a headache and she’s showing a bit of anxiousness after being shaken by the attack.”

The man who attacked opposition leader Lee told investigators after his arrest that he wanted to kill him to prevent him from becoming a future president. Lee was released from the hospital after eight days of treatment.

“My scar is aching again after this unbelievable incident,” Lee said of the attack on Bae, describing it as an act of “political terrorism” that must not be tolerated.

“There needs to be a thorough and decisive response. We pray for a speedy recovery for lawmaker Bae and our hearts go out to her family,” Lee said in a statement.

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Han Dong-hoon, leader of the governing People Power Party, called for a thorough investigation and for the attacker to be “sternly punished.”

Thae Yong Ho, another lawmaker from the People Power Party, described the attack as a “serious challenge” to South Korea’s democracy.

“Politics of hate, anger and violence must be put to an end,” Thae, a former North Korean diplomat who defected to South Korea in 2016, said in Facebook post.

—Associated Press writer Kim Tong-hyung contributed to this report.

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