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Immunity waived after Kiwi Seoul scuffle

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 27/06/2016

Diplomatic immunity has been waived for a New Zealand government official who allegedly obstructed South Korean police following a bar scuffle involving two Kiwi businessmen.

Seoul police officers had tried to arrest the two businessmen in a Itaewon bar last month for allegedly molesting a female bar worker and then assaulting a security guard, according to a report by the Korea Times.

As officers tried to arrest the pair, the unnamed New Zealand government official allegedly pushed them and kicked their patrol car.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed the official's companions were New Zealand businessmen and a female bar staffer had complained about their conduct on May 24.

Police decided against laying any charges and the businessmen had since left Korea but they still wanted to talk to the third man - who is employed by the New Zealand government - about what happened outside the bar, a spokesman says.

Mr McCully confirmed that he authorised the waiver of diplomatic immunity earlier this month.

"There'd have to be some compelling reasons not to waive immunity and there's been no push back in our system," he told reporters.

"Everyone agrees it's in the best of all parties for this person to be interviewed by police."

McCully would not confirm which government agency the man is employed by.

However, he said there are a number of people in Seoul working for various government agencies who are covered by diplomatic immunity.

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