North Korean diplomatic couriers fight with Finnish police
|Two North Korean diplomats carrying post from Russia to Sweden via Finland were taken into custody by the Finnish police in Kouvola on Tuesday after they refused to show their train tickets and to comply to customs inspection. After refusing to show their tickets to the train inspector, they used violence to fend off the custom officials, and they fought also against the police who were called into the scene. They had diplomatic passports, but they were not accredited in Finland. |
The daily Iltasanomat reported today (no link, this is Finland) that police had had to spray gas into the train compartment to subdue the two men. They were taken to the police station in Kouvola. It took a few hours for the Finnish foreign ministry to find out that they were in fact diplomats carrying diplomatic post, especially as staff from the North Korean embassy in Stockholm had come to Helsinki to meet the men, so police was instructed to treat them as diplomats, and in the end the couriers were escorted to the first available train from Kouvola to Helsinki. Kouvola police is investigating the case as "violent obstruction of authorities" or whatever the term might be in English, but as is quite obvious, the investigation is not expected to progress well.
Well, this is of course embarrassing for the tiny number of Koreans living here, especially as the major daily newspaper referred to the fighting diplomats mainly as "Koreans" and not as "North Koreans," but perhaps we can see some sprouts of unification in the men's attitude towards police, as it is quite similar to that shown by some of their Southern brethren when making their views and opinions known.
Update, Feb 20, 2007.
Two reports are available in English:
• YLE broadcasting corporation: North Korean Diplomats in Scuffle with Finnish Officials on Train
• Helsingin Sanomat daily: North Korean diplomatic couriers removed from train after scuffle
Categories at del.icio.us/hunjang: DPRK ∙ Korea-Finland