The Belgian Embassy has terminated its South Korean ambassador after viral footage was released in which his wife appeared to assault a shop employee.
According to a press release, the Embassy of Belgium in Seoul released on Facebook, Belgian Ambassador Peter Lescouhier has been removed from his role in South Korea in light of his wife’s alleged attack on a local clothing store employee.
Footage of the initial incident was obtained by the South China Morning Post and posted on Facebook in early April. According to the CCTV video, Lescouhier’s wife Xiang Xueqiu appeared to slap a woman across the face while out shopping. According to the outlet’s report, the female employee had mistaken Xeuqiu for a shoplifter as she tried leaving the establishment.
Although the store manager tried to assuage the situation, Xueqiu assaulted the employee in an apparent fit of rage. The woman was left with a “swollen face and a bloodshot eye,” the South China Morning Post reported.
At the time of the incident, the Embassy of Belgium in Seoul released an apology on Facebook, and claimed that Xueqiu had been hospitalized in the aftermath of the assault.
“The Ambassador of Belgium sincerely regrets the incident involving his wife which happened on April 9th and wants to apologize on her behalf,” the post read. “No matter the circumstances, the way she reacted is unacceptable. The Ambassador was informed by the police that an investigation is ongoing on the day his wife was hospitalized.
“[Lescouhier] confirms that his wife will go to the police once her health is sufficiently restored, that she will assist with the police investigation and that she will apologize in person to the shopkeeper,” the post added.
At the time of the incident, the BBC also reported that Xueqiu had plans to “claim diplomatic immunity” to avoid criminal charges, which sparked mass outrage in South Korea. However, the embassy confirmed that “her diplomatic immunity was waived on the request of the police,” and she would comply fully in the criminal investigation.
The embassy’s recent statement on Lescouhier’s termination also noted that his wife “[met] privately with the two store employees in order to apologize for her unacceptable behavior in the store.”
The embassy’s press release did not indicate who would replace Lescouhier or when his term would officially end.