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South Korean police say a lawmaker has been injured in an attack with a rock-like object

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean governing party lawmaker was being treated at a Seoul hospital after being attacked Thursday by an unidentified man who struck her head with a rock-like object, South Korean police and fire officials said.

A police official in Seoul’s Apgujeong district said a suspect was arrested at the scene of the attack on lawmaker Bae Hyunjin in southern Seoul.

The attack, which comes weeks after a man stabbed opposition lawmaker Lee Jae-myung in the neck in the southern city of Busan, raises further concerns about the country’s intensely polarized politics.

The severity of Bae’s injury wasn’t immediately clear. The police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to talk to the media, said Bae was conscious as she was being taken to the hospital.

South Korean media reported that her condition wasn’t life threatening, citing her aides. Calls to Bae’s office weren’t immediately answered.

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

Bae, a former television news presenter, was elected in 2020 and is seen as a close confident of President Yoon Suk Yeol.

Thae Yong Ho, a lawmaker from Bae’s conservative People Power Party, called the attack on her an act of “terror” that presented a “serious challenge” to South Korea’s democracy.

“Politics of hate, anger and violence must be put to an end,” Thae, a former North Korean diplomat who defected to South Korea in 2016, said in Facebook post.