Diplomats’ unpaid traffic fines draw ire

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Diplomats’ unpaid traffic fines draw ire

A ruling party lawmaker chastised foreign diplomats last week for taking advantage of their diplomatic immunity to ignore traffic fines.

Police data requested by Representative You Jung-hyun of the Grand National Party showed that more than 60 percent of traffic fines incurred by foreign diplomats in Korea over the past five years have gone unpaid.

Of a total 46.9 million won ($40,925) in fines slapped on foreign diplomatic vehicles for violations of local traffic laws from August 2006 to July of this year, 65.5 percent, or 30.73 million won, had not been paid, according to the National Police Agency report submitted to the National Assembly.

While diplomats from 99 countries received traffic fines during that period, representatives of 38 of the countries failed to pay anything, the report showed.

One country received the most citations, but its name was withheld for diplomatic reasons. It was fined 9.69 million won over the past five years, of which only 1.53 million won was paid.

The countries in second and third place were fined 4.13 million won and 3.66 million won, respectively, but paid nothing, according to the report.

“While we acknowledge diplomatic immunity, there should not be an exception to such basic rules,” said You. “The government departments concerned should cooperate with each other to devise proper measures to deal with the common practice of habitual delinquency by foreign embassies.”

The report said that 38 countries had paid all fines imposed on their diplomats.

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