During a visit to the city of Busan, opposition leader Lee Jae-myung of South Korea sustained a puncture wound to the neck.
According to reports, Mr. Lee, who narrowly lost the 2022 presidential election, suffered a 1cm laceration to the left of his neck.
He was transported to the hospital via airlift. The laceration, doctors say, does not pose a threat to life.
The 66-year-old attacker stated that he had no intention of killing Mr. Lee, according to the Yonhap news agency. Uncertainty surrounds the attack's motivation.
The blatant assault that occurred during the daytime stunned the entire nation and elicited censure from political parties and individuals, including the incumbent President Yoon Suk Yeol.
The assault occurred on Tuesday morning as Mr. Lee, the leader of the Democratic Party of Korea, was addressing reporters at a news conference during a visit to a construction site in the port of Busan.
Reportedly approaching him to request an autograph, the assailant lunged forward with the intent to stab him. The assailant claimed to have purchased the 18cm (7in) knife online, according to police statements at a media briefing. The assailant was apprehended and overpowered immediately.
Yonhap stated that prosecutors intend to file attempted murder charges against the individual.
Social media posts featuring videos of the assault depict Mr. Lee initially toppling into the crowd and subsequently landing on the ground as numerous individuals attempt to restrain the assailant. Mr. Lee is captured in photographs taken after the incident with his eyes closed and sprawled on the ground while a handkerchief is placed on the side of his neck.
Medical staff suspected injury to Mr. Lee's jugular vein, which supplies blood from the cranium to the heart, according to a spokesman for his political party. As further haemorrhaging was a concern, Mr. Lee would require surgery, according to the spokesperson, Kwon Chil-seung.
By a narrow 0.73 percent difference in ballots, Mr. Lee was defeated by Mr. Yoon in the 2022 presidential elections, which marked the closest presidential contest in the history of South Korea. It is highly probable that he will seek the presidency in the upcoming 2027 election.
Prosecutors have indicted him on corruption and breach of trust charges, alleging that he unlawfully permitted private developers to profit from a property project during his tenure as mayor of Seongnam, a one-million-person city located to the south of Seoul, subsequent to his loss in the election. Mr. Lee has denied these allegations, claiming they were motivated by politics.
During the month of September, a court denied the prosecution's motion to detain him pending trial on the charges. Ongoing investigations by prosecutors concern him in several additional cases that are associated with corruption that transpired during his tenure in office.
Three weeks after Mr. Lee began a hunger strike in protest of Mr. Yoon's foreign and domestic policies, the court issued its order. After missing 19 days of food, Mr. Lee necessitated hospitalisation.
A blunt object was used to assault Song Young-gil, Mr. Lee's predecessor as Democratic Party leader, in March 2022, as she campaigned for Mr. Lee. One of his limbs was lacerated.
In 2006, Park Geun-hye, the leader of the conservative Party and future president, was the target of a knife assault that resulted in facial scarring.