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South Korea requests Belgian Embassy cooperate on 'slapping' incident

Police in South Korea are investigating an assault at a local boutique on April that allegedly involved the wife of Belgian Ambassador Peter Lescouhier, according to local press reports. File Photo by Yonhap
Police in South Korea are investigating an assault at a local boutique on April that allegedly involved the wife of Belgian Ambassador Peter Lescouhier, according to local press reports. File Photo by Yonhap

April 21 (UPI) -- South Korea is requesting cooperation of the Belgian Embassy in Seoul after video of an undiplomatic incident at a local boutique went viral in the country.

Xiang Xueqiu, the wife of Belgian Ambassador Peter Lescouhier, was captured on store surveillance cameras allegedly striking a clerk in the back of the head.

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When another employee attempted to intervene, Xiang allegedly slapped the woman in the face, South Korean network Channel A reported Wednesday.

The store in the tony district of Hannam-dong in Seoul filed a complaint with police, but Xiang cannot face criminal charges or be prosecuted because of her diplomatic immunity.

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On Wednesday, Seoul's foreign ministry met with Patrick Englebert, deputy head at the embassy, according to Yonhap.

Seoul recommended that Lescouhier's wife cooperate fully with the investigation. The government said an apology would help to ease public anger in South Korea over the incident, the report said.

A South Korean foreign ministry official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Yonhap that Seoul has been addressing "illegal actions" among diplomats in the country.

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"We will respond proactively on this case, in cooperation with investigating authorities," the source said.

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Xiang was shopping at the store April 9 when she clashed with employees.

According to Channel A, Xiang tried on clothes for an hour without making any purchases. In store footage, the woman is seen trying on a pair of pants without removing her shoes.

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Xiang was briefly intercepted by one of the clerks after leaving the store. The employee was checking to see whether the ambassador's wife had left the store with unpaid items, the report said.

The encounter may have angered Xiang, who is seen in footage returning to the shop to confront the clerk. Xiang allegedly drags the clerk by the arm before hitting her on the back of her head. A second person at the store, identified by the South China Morning Post as the storeowner, tries to intervene, but is slapped in the face.

South Koreans have asked the ambassador and his wife leave the country, according to the Post.

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