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Mongolian judge accused of groping flight attendant

Judge Dorj Odbayar. (Yonhap)
Judge Dorj Odbayar. (Yonhap)
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.

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

Odbayar and his colleague, facing arrest warrants for alleged sexual harassment of separate members of the Korean flight crew, were initially turned over to police on Oct. 31 by the flight crew who detained them on the plane. 

Upon their release a day later, Odbayar flew to Indonesia and his colleague departed for Singapore. Police released them on grounds of diplomatic immunity without consulting relevant authorities.

“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 by any standard, the Mongolian judge qualifies for no such immunity.”

Odbayar was reportedly under the influence of alcohol at the time, and he reportedly shifted blame to someone else aboard the plane. He is also accused of having 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, adding 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)

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