A 70-year-old man attacked the chairman of South Korea’s ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), Song Young-gil, with a hammer during a campaign stop in Seoul on Monday, causing Song to suffer injuries to his head requiring stitches, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.
“Song was campaigning in Seoul’s Sinchon area for Wednesday’s presidential election when the assailant came up to him from behind and struck him in the head several times with a hammer wrapped in a black plastic bag,” Yonhap reported on March 7.
“Song was rushed to a nearby hospital with bleeding from his head and received stitches,” officials for the left-wing DPK told South Korean media on Monday.
Song issued a statement via his Facebook page on March 7 stating he “will be ok,” South Korea’s Arirang TV reported. The news outlet revealed doctors who treated Song for his head injuries on Monday told the politician his wounds were “non-life-threatening.”
Eyewitness video footage of the incident published by Arirang TV on March 7 shows the assailant approaching Song from behind before striking him repeatedly with a hammer. Members of the crowd gathered around Song at the time immediately leapt to the politician’s defense and detained the attacker before police could arrive.
The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said Monday the assailant was in its custody, adding its officers were “questioning the suspect on charges of violating the election law and assault.”
Song’s attacker has not been named, though Yonhap loosely identified him as a “70-year-old YouTuber who … appeared to have followed the chairman on the campaign trail since last month in videos uploaded to YouTube.”
The assailant allegedly shouted that he “opposes South Korea-U.S. military exercises and cannot stand to leave behind such a world to the youth” before physically assaulting Song on Monday, Yonhap reported, citing an unnamed eyewitness’s account.
Song was in Seoul on March 7 as part of the DPK’s effort to support the campaign of its nominee for the 2022 South Korean presidential election, Lee Jae-myung. Song is both the DPK’s chairman and Lee’s campaign manager. South Koreans will elect their next president on March 9, though early voting for the election began on March 4 and ended on March 5.
The campaign for South Korea’s presidential office has been characterized by “scandals, smear tactics and gaffes,” Reuters observed on Monday. The news agency highlighted some such “gaffes,” including an allegation by South Korea’s National Election Commission (NEC) that some early polling stations failed to properly retrieve votes.
Reuters detailed the allegation, writing:
Chaos erupted at many polling places during Saturday’s special early voting for [Chinese coronavirus-] infected voters. Instead of letting the voters directly cast ballots, some election workers collected and carried them in a shopping bag or plastic bucket to place in ballot boxes, the NEC said.
Some voters received papers that had already been used, while others had to wait in long queues in the cold, with at least one reported to have fainted.
The DPK’s Lee and Yoon Suk-yeol of the right-wing, opposition People Power Party (PPP) were reportedly “running neck-and-neck” in the race for South Korea’s top political office at press time Monday.
Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.