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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 August 2006, 06:43 GMT 07:43 UK
S Korean man jailed for slashing
Park Geun-hye, chairwoman of the Grand National Party, is attacked by an assailant with a box cutter during a campaign for the upcoming local elections in Seoul, Saturday, May 20, 2006
Miss Park's response to being stabbed won her sympathy
A man who slashed South Korean opposition leader Park Geun-hye with a knife during an election rally has been sentenced to 11 years' jail.

Ji Choong-ho, 50, was found guilty of injuring Ms Park and violating election laws, though he was acquitted of a murder charge.

The May attack left Ms Park needing 60 stitches to close an 11cm (4 inch) gash down the right side of her face.

Ms Park is one of the front-runners for next year's presidential election.

Her response to the attack won her considerable public sympathy and may have contributed to her Grand National Party's strong showing in subsequent local elections.

The judge in the case, Kim Yoon-kwon, said in his verdict that the attack was particularly disturbing because of its threat to disturb the order of democracy.

"Ji deserves heavy punishment for a vicious act of slashing a woman in the face, although there was no concrete evidence to prove he attempted to kill her," he said.

Ji, a former convict, apologised after the attack and said he had been confused.

Police have said there was no political motive for his actions.

Just 10 days after the attack Miss Park returned to the campaign trail and helped ensure the rout of the ruling party.

Her response reminded many of her father, who famously finished a speech after his wife - and Miss Park's mother - was shot dead by an assassin's bullet during an Independence Day rally in 1974.

President Park was himself shot dead five years later in 1979 by his spy chief as he clung to autocratic rule in the face of a growing democracy movement.

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25 Feb 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: South Korea
20 Apr 06 |  Country profiles

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