NATIONAL

Mongolian judge accused of groping flight attendant

By Choi Si-young
  • Published : Nov 6, 2019 - 17:49
  • Updated : Nov 7, 2019 - 10:30

South Korean police on Wednesday again questioned a senior Mongolian official accused of groping a Korean flight attendant during a flight from Ulaanbaatar to Incheon on Oct. 31.

Dorj Odbayar (Yonhap)

The Incheon Metropolitan Policy Agency arrested Dorj Odbayar, the head of Mongolia’s Constitutional Court, who made a stopover at Incheon Airport on Wednesday morning en route to the Mongolia capital from Indonesia.

The Incheon District Court issued an arrest warrant for Odbayar on Tuesday.

Odbayar and his colleague, who has an arrest warrant issued against him for alleged sexual harassment of another member of the Korean flight crew, were initially turned over to police on Oct. 31 by the flight crew, who had detained them on the plane. Upon their release a day later, Odbayar flew to Indonesia to attend a scheduled conference, and his colleague departed for Singapore.

Police released the two suspects without consulting relevant authorities after the suspects claimed they were entitled to diplomatic immunity.

“By convention and custom, heads of states enjoy diplomatic immunity, and yes, foreign diplomats stationed in South Korea, too, qualify for that privilege,” the Foreign Ministry said. “But the full exercise depends on each circumstance.”

The ministry added, “But by any standard, the Mongolian judge qualifies for no such immunity.”

Odbayar was reportedly under the influence of alcohol at the time, and he is said to be shifting blame to someone else aboard the plane.

Odbayar is also alleged to have verbally abused another member of the flight crew, a Mongolian national, during the Oct. 31 flight.

Police said they will apprehend Odbayar’s colleague upon entry to South Korea. They added they are coordinating with the Mongolian Embassy here to facilitate his return.

The Mongolian Embassy could not be reached for comment.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)