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SEOUL — The Philippine ambassador to South Korea was questioned in November on suspicions she had shoplifted from the Yongsan Garrison AAFES store, according to two recent statements from the Philippine embassy.

The embassy called it nothing more than a mix-up and blasted South Korean news reports on the incident.

According to a June 28 release, Ambassador Susan O. Castrence was shopping for Christmas gifts at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service store on Yongsan and had brought a song chip from a karaoke machine from home because she wanted to make sure she bought the correct type.

After comparing the AAFES chip, she returned her personal chip to her purse.

“This must have been the moment caught by the camera which gave the impression of shoplifting,” the release stated.

The ambassador explained the situation to a security officer, who searched her bag and found only the personal chip, according to the release.

“While the Ambassador is unable to speak for [U.S. Forces Korea], she was under the impression that the case was closed after she explained her side, since no one has contacted her since November 2006,” according to a July 5 release.

U.S. Forces Korea officials said they were unable to comment on diplomatic issues and referred all queries to the Embassy.

U.S. Embassy officials were unable to comment on the report.

“I’ll just tell you, it’s not our story,” said U.S. Embassy spokesman Brian Gibel. “We don’t have any information on this.”


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