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South Korea in shock after female politician is attacked with a rock | South Korea

A member of South Korea's ruling party was hit repeatedly in the head with a stone-like object by an unidentified man and was treated for lacerations at a hospital in Seoul.

Police officials in Apgujeong-gu, Seoul announced that the suspect in the attack on Rep. Bae Hyun-jin in southern Seoul was arrested at the scene.

Thursday's attack came weeks after a man stabbed opposition leader Lee Jae-myung in the neck in the southern city of Busan, further raising concerns about the country's highly polarized politics.

Security camera footage shows a suspect wearing a gray skull cap and mask approach Bae in the building's hallway, appear to strike up a conversation, and then attack Bae with what appears to be a small rock. He was seen being beaten.

Even after Bae collapsed, he continued to hit her with objects. The video shows Bae fighting alone, waving her arms and grabbing the man's wrist, before another person appears and tries to intervene.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency quoted a close aide to Bae as saying that the suspect asked, “Are you Rep. Bae Hyun-jin?” before hitting her in the back of the head with a rock the size of her fist.

A call to Bae's office was not immediately answered.

Bae, a former TV newscaster, was elected in 2020 and is seen as a close ally of President Yoon Seok-yeol. Yun's office issued a statement calling the assault on Bae “an unacceptable incident that must be strictly investigated.”

Park Sook Kue, a neurosurgeon at Soonchunhyang University Seoul Hospital, said Bae suffered minor head injuries, including scrapes and cuts, and was taken to the hospital in stable condition. Park said the impact of the attack caused Bae to fall onto his back, but there were no signs of a concussion or internal bleeding.

“Fortunately, the bleeding was not that serious,” Park said at a press conference. “She has a headache and after being upset by her seizure, she is showing a little anxiety.”

The motive for the attack was not immediately clear. Korean media reported, citing anonymous sources, that the suspect told police he was 15 years old.

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

Regarding the attack on Bae, Lee said, “The wound hurts once again after this unbelievable incident,'' calling it an “act of political terrorism'' that must not be tolerated.

“A thorough and decisive response is needed. We wish Rep. Bae a speedy recovery and our hearts go out to her family,” Lee said in a statement.

Han Dong-hoon, head of the ruling People's Power party, called for a thorough investigation and “severe punishment” for the attackers.

Tae Yong-ho, another lawmaker from the party, said the attack was a “grave challenge” to South Korea's democracy. “The politics of hatred, anger and violence must end,” Tae, a former North Korean diplomat who defected to South Korea in 2016, said in a Facebook post.

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