Two Pakistani diplomats from Pakistan’s Embassy in South Korea have been caught shoplifting at a store in Seoul on Saturday. Police staff from Yongsan Police Station said the two were caught stealing items worth 11,000 won (USD 10 or INR 738) and 1,900 won (USD 1.70 or INR 127), respectively, at the same store in Itaewon, Yongsan District, on different dates. According to Korea Times, the police report mentioned that one diplomat allegedly stole chocolate treats worth 1,900 won ($1.70), Jan. 10, and the other a hat worth 11,000 won ($10), Feb. 23. After the hat was stolen, an employee at the store filed a police report shortly afterward, and the law enforcement authorities identified the suspect through CCTV footage as a 35-year-old diplomat of the Pakistan Embassy.
However, at the moment no arrests have been made: Following an investigation, officers closed the case without booking the suspect because of the offenders holding diplomatic immunity. Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, diplomats and their families may avoid arrest, detention or indictment under certain laws of their host country. The police noted that the store owner did not wish for punishment as a colleague of the diplomat paid for the item, reports Korea Times. For the other shoplifter, who also holds diplomatic immunity, is currently still under investigation as the theft was only reported earlier this month.
Pakistan Ambassador to South Korea Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, however, denied to Pakistani news portal The Nation that they were diplomats. “Both are officials working in the embassy and are not diplomats,” she said. She also clarified She said Pakistan embassy is cooperating with the local police as far as investigations are concerned. Baloch added that if both the officials found guilty, punishment under the existing rules would be given to them. Both the officials are from the Foreign Office and working in the embassy.
This isn’t the first time Pakistani Embassy officials have been investigated in a negative light- In 2018, a highly ranked official in country’s ministry of finance was caught on camera allegedly stealing a wallet that was left by a member of Kuwaiti delegation visiting the country. The theft was committed by a grade-20 officer of the Pakistan Administrative Services Group.