Wife of Belgium ambassador invokes immunity over South Korea shoplifting, assault allegations

The wife of Belgium's Ambassador to South Korea has reportedly invoked her diplomatic immunity after she allegedly assaulted a shop's staff during a shoplifting incident.

Xiang Xueqiu, the wife of ambassador Peter Lescouhier, reportedly tried on clothes at a boutique in Seoul in April.

The Guardian reported she walked out of the store while still wearing the clothes, prompting a shop assistant to chase after her.

CCTV footage from the incident shows Xueqiu pulling at one employee's arm and hitting her in the head, before slapping another worker across the face.

At the time, Lescouhier acknowledged the incident in a statement that was posted to social media.

"The Ambassador of Belgium sincerely regrets the incident involving his wife which happened on April 9th and wants to apologize on her behalf. No matter the circumstances, the way she reacted is unacceptable."

He said the police had launched its investigation on the day his wife was hospitalised, although it was not clear if this was due to the incident.

"He 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."

This week a Seoul police detective told The Guardian the Belgium embassy "has expressed it would maintain the right of immunity for the ambassador’s wife", and police would not pursue the case.