Earlier this month, an incident of shocking violence involving a customer and employees at a clothing store made headlines in South Korean media.
CCTV footage of this shocking incident became released via numerous major news broadcasts, showing a woman trying on various items of clothing at a store for approximately an hour. Afterward, the woman leaves without making any purchases. An employee can be seen quickly following the woman out, then returning to the store. The customer also returns, seems to make a phone call outside of the store momentarily, then enters the store again, heading directly toward the checkout counter.
Then, the woman enters the room behind the checkout counter and attacks the employee who followed her, additionally slapping a manager who enters the room. The woman continued to yell and point fingers at the two store employees despite the intervention of other customers, until the police showed up.
Later on, it was confirmed that this female customer was Xiang Xueqiu, the wife of the Belgian ambassador to South Korea, Peter Lescouhier.
While the incident occurred in early April, the controversial events made major headlines approximately a week afterward. What further caused controversy and criticism was that the Belgian ambassador, Peter Lescouhier, did not speak up about the incident until another week after the news became a heated topic. When Lescouhier did issue an apology on April 22, numerous netizens were offended by the ambassador's wording of the apology, which they felt used a mix of informal language.
Then, a few days later, it was reported that the ambassador's wife Xiang Xueqiu could not take part in police questioning regarding her charges of violence, due to the fact that she had suffered a stroke and was in the hospital.
The issue has since made international headlines, reaching Belgian news outlets as well.
On April 23, the Belgian TV personality Julian Quintart, known for his appearances on programs like JTBC's 'Abnormal Summit', released a statement of apology and embarrassment via his Instagram.
Quintart stated, "This incident is a complete embarrassment to the Belgian people. It was an unacceptable occurrence. Under no circumstances should violence be allowed, and if you are the wife of a foreign ambassador, all the more reason to refrain from violence. Furthermore, when problematic events occur, they should be handled appropriately; however, the ambassador was much too late in posting his apology, and all I could do was sigh when I read what he wrote at the end. I felt that if it weren't for the CCTV footage, this incident could easily have been covered up or shrugged off, and so I am greatly relieved that the footage was released."
The TV personality continued, "The news is also being circulated in Belgium, and I have received phone calls from my parents. They say, 'How can this happen?'. Belgian media outlets are also heavily criticizing this incident, stating, 'This is unacceptable and an embarrassment'. Many people feel that the ambassador should be held accountable for inflicting damage on the image of the Belgian people."
Finally, the TV personality concluded, "I really want to show my apology to the victim and her family for the incident involving our Ambassador’s wife. Violence should never be the answer and even more coming from someone married to a diplomat."