Philippines belie report that envoy shoplifted in Seoul

Jun. 29, 2007

28 June 2007 — The Philippine Embassy in Seoul, South Korea reported to
the Department of Foreign Affairs that the allegation of shoplifting by an
official of the embassy as reported in the media is unfounded.

Philippine Ambassador Susan O. Castrence said that the article must be
referring to the time in November last year when she went to the PX
Commissary at Yongsan Base to shop for Christmas gifts for her staff, during
which time she also wanted to purchase a karaoke chip with childrens songs
(not a karaoke machine as reported) for her granddaughter in Manila. This
was to be in addition to the one she brought with her to the store which she
also purchased from the same place months earlier to make sure that there
was no duplication. However, after finding out that there were no new
childrens chips available, she returned her chip to her handbag. This must
have been the moment caught by the camera which gave the impression of
shoplifting. At the perfume section, she sprayed her wrist with a Gucci
tester bottle but decided not to buy one due to its prohibitive price.

Castrence explained the above to a security officer who met her at the exit
when told of the shoplifting suspicion. As the officer was just doing her
job, she allowed her to look through her handbag where she found only the
chip with a list of songs and no perfume. She said the alleged visit to the
embassy by US base officials to show her the video never took place.

The report also attributed to the incident the non-renewal by the Hartell
House of the membership of an Embassy personnel. Upon verification with the
Hartell House, however, the Philippine Embassy was informed that the policy
extended to all nationalities, not only to the Philippines.

Castrence stated that she would not impair her reputation and that of her
country for a mere karaoke chip. END

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