Ambassador’s wife claims immunity over slap

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Wife of the Belgium's ambassador to South Korea slaps shopkeeper
Wife of the Belgium's ambassador to South Korea slaps shopkeeper

The wife of Belgium’s ambassador to South Korea is invoking diplomatic immunity to avoid charges for allegedly assaulting shop staff in Seoul, police have said.

CCTV footage of the incident showed Peter Lescouhier’s wife, Xiang Xueqiu, slapping a shop assistant last month.

Staff had wanted to check the clothes she was leaving in were her own, amid concern she may have been shoplifting.

Deal of the day

The ambassador has since apologised for his wife’s “unacceptable” reaction.

The incident took place on 9 April at a clothing shop in Yongsan-gu, Seoul.

Ms Xiang, 63, spent around an hour trying on clothes before she left, South Korean media report.

A member of staff followed her as she left the shop to make sure the clothes she wore – originally from the same shop – were not newly acquired and not paid for.

The ambassador’s wife is then reported to have followed the employee back into the shop and, in a confrontation caught on CCTV, appeared to push and slap another staff member who tried to intervene.

Police questioned Ms Xiang on 6 May. She had previously been hospitalised after suffering a stroke, according to the Belgian embassy.