German police recently thought that they had just another illegal fishing incident at the Havel River in Berlin when they stopped a man and demanded his license. The man immediately informed them that he had no license and continued to fish. When they told him it was illegal, he promptly identified himself as Si Hong Ri, North Korea’s ambassador to Germany and apologized. He then continued to fish. Si Hong Ri had no identification on him, so the police were forced to call for their office to produce a picture of the ambassador and then stood there as Si Hong Ri continued to fish with immunity and impunity.
Various countries, including our own, are constantly complaining about the use of diplomatic immunity to shield diplomats from liability. While this is often brazen traffic and driving violations, it can include more serious crimes.
While the Germans punish this offense with as much as two years in jail, the ambassador continued to fish before the policemen in mocking silence.
For its part, the North Korea press did report a notable occurrence in Berlin this week: the “natural wonder” of a small songbird landing on the entrance of the embassy and staying for an hour after the death of leader Kim Jong-il: “It seemed that upon hearing the sad news of the demise of the outstanding great man, the bird flew to the mourning station to express condolences and flew away after standing vigil.” That is right up there with snow in the winter as evidence that Nature is grieving the loss of the Dear One.
Next Si Hong Ri will go on North Korean television and proclaimed “I caught a fish THIS BIG after the Dear One died.” For an entire nation built on fish stories, it would be the perfect send off for the Dear One. After all, his parting gift to the nation he starved and oppressed was a truckload of fish.