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North Korean envoy wriggles off hook

The Local · 20 Jan 2012, 07:25

Published: 20 Jan 2012 07:25 GMT+01:00

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“My colleagues are extremely frustrated – we catch a diplomat committing a crime and cannot do anything,” Klaus Eisenreich, regional head of the GdP police union, told daily newspaper BZ.

The paper reported on Friday that Ri Si Hong had been caught fishing in the Havel River in Spandau in the west of the city – but had not only failed to produce a fishing license, but refused to stop.

He told the police officers who challenged him he was the North Korean ambassador, and was so convincing that they got a photo sent to them by colleagues, and confirmed he was who he claimed to be.

Even when they asked him to stop, the BZ said, he refused to pack up his fishing gear, but smiled and waved them off, reminding them that they could not arrest him due to his diplomatic status.

The river is popular with anglers who often find perch and bass there.

A police spokesman told The Local, “I can confirm that there was an incident of illegal fishing, but cannot say anything about the identity of the person concerned.”

Convicted poachers can face a jail sentence of up to two years in Germany.

The North Koreans have refused to comment on the matter: A spokesman for the embassy told a BZ reporter that “all journalists are dirt” before hanging up.

As the former centre of the Cold War, when spies were scattered through the city, Berlin is used to dealing with diplomats’ dodgy dealings.

There are around 5,000 foreign diplomats in Berlin, according to the BZ, and many seem to disregard the law of the land.

In 2010, there were 15,000 police reports of violations by diplomats related to everything from illegal parking to drunk driving – an increase of 3,300 over the year before.

There have been several cases of diplomats refusing to pay hospital fees or refusing to take breath tests when caught drunk driving. One embassy worker from Saudi Arabia was even accused last year of treating a woman he employed as a slave.

In most cases, all the German government can do is warn embassies and, in the most severe cases, expel diplomats from the country.

Story continues below…

“No matter how seemingly small the offence is; one must repeatedly exert pressure so that diplomats meet the norms of the host country,” Peter Trapp, a Berlin state legislator told the BZ.

“The Foreign Ministry should talk with North Korea’s foreign minister and tell him how the ambassador is behaving here,” Trapp said.

The Local/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:48 January 20, 2012 by bugger
I am sure he just was hungry. In North Korea, people have to eat grass and tree bark. He must be doing this for his beloved leader and for socialism - a heroic act to weaken the class enemy.
11:16 January 20, 2012 by lucksi
'¦quot;My colleagues are extremely frustrated ­ we catch a diplomat committing a crime and cannot do anything,¦quot; Klaus Eisenreich, regional head of the GdP police union, told daily newspaper BZ.'

OMG, the crime of the century goes unpunished. Whatever will we do?

I ,for one, didn't even know you need a license for fishing in any of our rivers. Judging by the masses of people who line some bridges here with fishing rods, I gathered it was one of the mindless things to pass the boring day. I'd bet you can arrest the most of them if that is such a horrid thing to do...
12:28 January 20, 2012 by taiwanluthiers
He may have diplomatic immunity, but they can still expel him and declare him persona non grata for committing crimes in the country.
12:34 January 20, 2012 by bugger
@lucksi: As long as poaching legally is a crime in Germany, it is a crime in Germany. It is their laws being valid on their territory. Every native kid knows that you need a license for driving a car and another one for fishing. If you don't, it will not help you when you get caught, and you will have to pay for breaking the law. Like in any other country. It is as easy as that.

If you would have understood the text, you would recognize the threat which this diplomatic immunity means to the everyday life of the locals. Owners of a diplomatic passport can steal, rape, kill and break every law in the book of the host country without legal consequences, and some do. The aggrieved party will go out empty-handed in any case.

In the very worst case for the diplomat passport holder, he will be declared a persona non grata by the host country and will have to leave it.

I wish you lots of luck next time a drunk diplomat rams you off your bicycle with his car. The cops even cannot stop him, touch him or question him for anything. He will whip out his passport, and that's it. There will be no trial at court where you can go to in your wheel chair to claim compensation.
12:34 January 20, 2012 by Englishted

Here is something for you to think on before your anti-socialist rhetoric:

London has a congestion charge as of Feb 2011 look who owes what,

U.S.A.-£4.9 million on more than 45,000 notices since the charge was introduced in 2003.

Russia is next with £4.3 million, then Japan on £3.5 million, followed by Germany with £3.4 million.

The amount of money owed by foreign embassies in unpaid congestion charge fines is broke the £50 million barrier in Feb.2011

All them commies ?.
12:44 January 20, 2012 by bugger
@Englishted: I herewith formally excuse for not having used irony tags in my first posting. Have a nice one..
14:27 January 20, 2012 by derExDeutsche
@ Englishted

Always with with the same laborious ' Dear Leader' crap. Hey, Government has failed where ever it has been tried, often disasterously. Lets not try and build it up too big, ok?
14:34 January 20, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
@Englshithead - The better comparison may have been would the American or Russian stopped fishing when confronted by the police for illegally fishing in a German river? It is hard to speak for all 500 million of them, but I think "Yes."

Unless of course you had an oustanding congestion charge in London pending.
16:25 January 20, 2012 by raandy
I like the part where he grinned and kept on fishing. I give him credit for that ,unlike Gaddafi's son who was racing around at warp factor 6 and endangering the public ,this diplomat was merely fishing.

Gaddafi"s son was let go as Germany did not want to anger the leader who could slow the flow of oil.

I hope he caught a lot of fish.
16:35 January 20, 2012 by Jimberlin
I hope it was not at he was finish. If yes then I hope he didnt eat the fish ... Otherwise poor guy would have joined the Great Leader :P
16:55 January 20, 2012 by carlm
Someone should shove the gook into the river and see if he can swim.
17:02 January 20, 2012 by dongsoola
thats because in North Korea, there is no such thing as fishing license.

North Koreans are free to fish in any river, sea, anywhere possible.

North Koreans are also allowed to pee in river.

If I have not posted this, u guys would never even imagine this. right?

Remember U guys are too far from North Korea, so never can verify anything.

so any evils can distort the truth to manipulate you guys to be on their side.
18:01 January 20, 2012 by Grumpy Old Man
If he needs fish so much, then we can help him. Just lob a few old fish up onto the balcony. I'm sure he would be gratefull! lol
19:21 January 20, 2012 by Tanskalainen
The solution is simple, next time the ugly fat little bastard does this, stick his head under the water so he can "see" the fish better. Do this for 20 minutes so he can get a good look.
19:41 January 20, 2012 by Whipmanager
Every country has problems with Diplomats. It would be a very interesting article for the Local to run the money owed by each country, and maybe a list of the more embarrassing offenses. I am Sure the USA has some, but wouldn't it be great if you could post where the Diplomats are, so restaurants and shops could refuse to serve them?

dongsoola: Are you North Korean? It sounds like you are defending the NK Dip. He is an idiot. I followed all of the rules of themany countries I went to so as not to offend, not because I had to. too bad someone didnt accidently bump into him and he fell into the water, you know help him out, after a bit.It was an accident.
20:35 January 20, 2012 by joysonabraham

Do North Koreans also send their diplomats without giving any information about the host country.

Are diplomats really out side the laws of the host country. What would have happened in the past while Taliban was ruling Afghanistan, i hope they had embassy here, if they send bin laden as ambassador. if not host country laws there might be some international laws. Or the international laws don't deal with petty crimes, may be they deal only big wigs
21:18 January 20, 2012 by Bushdiver
Germany does go overboard with all their rules. In America you don't need a license to fish in streams. Just another way to squeeze money out of you in Germany. The same goes for the TV tax. What a rip off. Germany is always quick to find new ways of taking your money
21:29 January 20, 2012 by ErnestPayne
Just restrict his movements and deny him access to any body of water. For that matter deny it to every person in the embassy. They will get the message when all they car stare at is four walls.
22:47 January 20, 2012 by McNair Kaserne
I'd like to have seen the police help him over the rail into the river, that would have been priceless.
03:10 January 21, 2012 by Drdarby
@English Ted They are just behaving like the socilist Eurotrash of their host country. When in Rome.........
06:27 January 21, 2012 by parografik
Where are the overzealous football fans when you need them? They should be encouraged to "brook" the man, and then dispersed. Call it a "hooligan mulligan."
11:21 January 21, 2012 by MichaSeifert-Weiss
It surprises me that some people think that police should sometimes NOT be interested in upholding all of the laws. I wonder if only certain laws are worth upholding why the others exist.

And in a country that has worked so hard to foster a strong sense of all people having equal value, it is particularly obnoxious when a 'diplomat,' a person sent to negotiate with Germany on behalf of his countrymen, thinks it appropriate to dismiss the agents of law in his HOST country. It shows arrogance and contempt for Germans. And when a country treats its own with less rights than it offers outsiders, it tells its own that they are inferior and less important to that country than the stranger, and that is never a proper message to send.
12:58 January 21, 2012 by Jeffvm
He was just checking if the fish were mourning as well as the birds and plants: http://www.thelocal.de/national/20120119-40201.html
18:44 January 21, 2012 by storymann
We are talking about North Korea, we all know they have no tact, honor, or concern for other peoples rules,why make Germany the exception.
20:44 January 21, 2012 by Ghostrider16
Shoulda thought outside the box.

Although he couldn't be arrested, I'm unaware of any "diplomatic immunity" for his fishing equipment. I would have confiscated it and booked it as evidence leaving him with nothing to fish with.
23:20 January 21, 2012 by Jazzineva
Considering all the worries going around the world with the new under 30 Great Successor taking control of North Korea, if this is the worst threat they can come up with, I'm not so worried after all. They seem to be rather relaxed with the change. Arrogant, yeah. But if you're going to have an international incident with a crazy country like that, this is the kind I don't mind seeing.
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