An American diplomat in Seoul has fled the scene after a suspected hit-and-run incident and is now hiding from the police at a US military base, South Korean law enforcement has complained.
An unnamed member of the US diplomatic mission had allegedly been behind the wheel of a car that collided with a taxi in the center of the Korean capital on Wednesday.
The crash is said to have happened when the vehicle was changing lanes, damaging the cab’s rear bumper.
The accident was minor, but the diplomat didn’t stop to deal with it. He hit the gas instead and tried to flee the scene, prompting a chase.
The taxi driver followed him all the way to the Yongsan Garrison, an American military and diplomatic facility in Seoul. The police also arrived there, but the diplomat and his three passengers refused to cooperate with the officers.
The Americans declined to undergo an alcohol test and drove inside the base, which is off limits to Korean law enforcement. The police also couldn’t detain the member of the US mission outside the facility due to his diplomatic immunity.
The suspect has been holed up at the Yongsan Garrison since then. In order to reach him, the police sent a request to the US Embassy, asking for cooperation. “We plan to decide on the charges after seeing the statement of the US diplomat,” the police said.
The incident appears to be yet another example of outrageous conduct by foreign diplomats and their family members in Korea in recent months.
Earlier this month, the husband of a Dutch diplomat prompted a police probe after lightly hitting a Korean man with his car during an argument over a parking spot.
In June, Belgium had to recall its ambassador Peter Lescouhier from the country over his wife’s violent behavior. The woman was first filmed slapping a shopkeeper and later started a brawl with a street cleaner after his broom accidentally touched her.