SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) – The chairman of South Korea’s ruling Democratic Party was assaulted yesterday by a man wielding a hammer-like object during a rally for presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung, days ahead of the country’s elections.
Song Young-gil was being treated for stitches at a nearby hospital in the capital Seoul, but appeared to have avoided serious injury.
Lee Jin-woo, an official from the Seoul Metropolitan Policy Agency, said officers were questioning the unidentified attacker in his 70s who was detained at the scene.
Videos taken by witnesses and posted on social media show the elderly man – wearing a brimmed hat and traditional Korean hanbok garb – sneaking up behind Song and hitting him several times with what appeared to be a hammer wrapped in a plastic bag before being tackled by people nearby.
Democratic Party official Park Min-soo said Song received four to five stitches and will likely remain at the hospital overnight.
The party released a statement saying it strongly condemns the attack on Song, calling such actions a “serious threat to democracy.”
Yoon Suk-yeol, the conservative opposition candidate who locked in a tight and bitter race with Lee Jae-myung ahead of tomorrow’s vote, issued a statement on Facebook wishing for Song’s quick recovery.
“Any action of violence that disrupts an election cannot be justified,” said Yoon.