March 5 (UPI) -- A South Korean politician widely believed to be a contender for the presidency in 2022 was egged in the face on Friday, during a visit to the city of Chuncheon.
Protesters confronted Lee Nak-yon, chief of the ruling Democratic Party and a close confidant of President Moon Jae-in, during his visit to the city's Jungang Market at about 4:30 p.m., News 1 and Donga Ilbo reported Friday.
Footage of the visit showed people holding signs protesting a new Legoland resort. Previous reports indicate Legoland Korea will open on the island of Hajung-do in Chuncheon.
Members of a local group, Guardians of the Jung-do Ruins or relics, were behind the attack, reports said.
Video of Lee's visit also showed at least two attempts to hit the politician with eggs. One egg missed Lee, but a second egg thrown in his direction struck him in the face. Lee was seen wiping his face and coat with a handkerchief as his security detail surrounded him.
At least three eggs may have been thrown at Lee, who also toured urban renewal projects in Chuncheon on Friday and met with local entrepreneurs in their 20s and 30s, according to Yonhap.
Lee said on Facebook late Friday the incident is "unfortunate." He also asked local authorities to "not punish" his attackers.
"I understand the passion of those who seek to protect cultural properties," Lee said, referring to the activists. "I have heard that the cultural property authorities, local governments, and civic groups have talked for quite some time."
Past press reports indicate the island where Legoland is to be built includes artifacts from the Bronze Age, including dolmens. Business disagreements between Merlin Entertainments, the global Legoland operator, and Gangwon Province, may have also cast a shadow over the project. The park is to open by 2022, according to Merlin.