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New Zealand waives diplomatic immunity for official in Seoul

New Zealand has waived diplomatic immunity for one of its diplomats stationed in Korea after a scuffle between the official and local police, Seoul's foreign ministry said Tuesday.

The New Zealand diplomat, whose identity has been withheld, is accused of obstructing the duty of police officers on May 24 when he allegedly pushed the officers and kicked their car to prevent them from arresting two New Zealand businessmen at a bar in the central district of Yongsan, according to the ministry and news reports.

Radio New Zealand reported the police had received a complaint from a female staff member about the conduct of the businessmen.

"We have received an official letter from the New Zealand Embassy in Seoul waiving diplomatic immunity for the employee and expressing the intent to cooperate with the (ongoing) investigation," ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck said during a regular press briefing.

Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, diplomats are largely granted immunity from prosecution in their host country.

"I think it's well established that we expect diplomats in New Zealand to behave well and be accountable under our laws, and we take the same approach in other people's jurisdictions," Radio New Zealand quoted the country's Foreign Minister Murray McCully as saying. (Yonhap)


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