Xiang Xueqiu, 63, may not be charged after physically assaulting a store clerk in Seoul, South Korea. Originally from China, she is married to Peter Lescouhier, 65, who has been the ambassador of Belgium to South Korea since September 1991.
On April 9, 2021, Xiang went to a clothing store in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. She tried on some clothes but left after around 1 hour without buying one.
While on the street outside the store, Xiang was confronted by a female clerk from the store. The clerk tried to check the label inside the jacket Xiang was wearing and verified that it was not stolen from the store.
The clerk apologized in English and went back inside the store. The encounter did not end there as Xiang decided to go back inside the store, too, and confronted the clerk.
When another female clerk, 33, intervened, she was pushed and slapped in the face by Xiang as seen in closed-circuit television video. The names of the two clerks were not released.
On May 6, 2021, the Seoul Metropolitan Police questioned Xiang. Prior to this, she suffered a stroke and was hospitalized, according to BBC.
Xiang has been discharged from the hospital. On May 18, 2021, the Seoul Metropolitan Police announced that she had invoked her diplomatic immunity to avoid prosecution.
South Korea is a signatory to the Vienna Convention, which gives diplomats and their families the right to immunity from criminal prosecution. This diplomatic immunity can be voluntarily waived but apparently, Lescouhier’s wife chose to enjoy it.
Lescouhier has apologized on behalf of Xiang. According to him, his wife was “cooperating actively with the police” and she “sincerely regrets it and she wants to offer her apologies in person to the shopkeeper when she gets the opportunity to do so.”