South Korean ruling party MP attacked in street

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A South Korean ruling party lawmaker was struck on the head with a rock on a street in Seoul’s upscale Gangnam district on Thursday by an unidentified assailant, Yonhap news agency reported.

Bae Hyun-jin, 40, was taken to hospital, the report said, adding her condition was “not life threatening”.

The lawmaker was bleeding before being transferred to Soon Chun Hyang University Hospital in Seoul, it said, adding she was struck on the back of her head.

The male assailant, who allegedly asked her name before assaulting her, was arrested by the police at the scene of the attack, said Yonhap.

He reportedly told the police he was 15 years old.

The attack comes just about a month after the country’s opposition party leader Lee Jae-myung was stabbed in the neck while talking to reporters in the port city of Busan.

He underwent a surgery and returned to work on January 17.

Bae, a former news anchor, was President Yoon Suk Yeol’s spokeswoman when he was the president-elect.

South Korea is generally a safe country, with a murder rate of 1.3 per 100,000 people in 2021, according to official statistics.

The global average is six homicide deaths per 100,000 people, according to the World Health Organization.

Police have vowed to not “hesitate” to use their firearms after the series of stabbings shook the typically low-crime country.

Several high-profile South Korean politicians have been attacked in public in recent years.

Song Young-gil, who led the Democratic Party before Lee, was struck in the head with a blunt object in 2022.

In 2006, politician Park Geun-hye, who later became president in 2013, was attacked with a knife at a rally.

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