Regime says U.S. ‘mugged’ diplo­mats

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - NATION & WORLD - By Tom McEl­roy

NEW YORK >> North Korea claimed Sun­day that U.S. of­fi­cials forcibly seized a diplo­matic pack­age from one of their del­e­ga­tions at John F. Kennedy Air­port, call­ing it an “il­le­gal and heinous act of provo­ca­tion.”

The of­fi­cial Korean Cen­tral News Agency said of­fi­cials were re­turn­ing from a United Na­tions con­fer­ence on rights of per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties Fri­day when they were “lit­er­ally mugged.”

“At the air­port, a group of more than 20 in­clud­ing those who claimed to be from the U.S. Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity and the po­lice of­fi­cers made a vi­o­lent as­sault like gang­sters to take away the diplo­matic pack­age from the DPRK (Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea) diplo­mats who were in pos­ses­sion of a valid diplo­matic courier cer­tifi­cate,” a spokesman for North Korea’s for­eign ministry told the news agency.

“As the diplo­mats vig­or­ously re­sisted, they grabbed the diplo­matic pack­age us­ing phys­i­cal vi­o­lence and made off.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity spokesman David La­pan said Sun­day its of­fi­cers did seize mul­ti­ple me­dia items and pack­ages from three North Kore­ans who, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. State Depart­ment, were not ac­cred­ited mem­bers of North Korea’s Mis­sion to the U.N. and had no diplo­matic im­mu­nity.

“The pack­age in ques­tion had no diplo­matic pro­tec­tion from in­spec­tion,” La­pan said.

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