French diplomat in Hong Kong suspended over wine theft row

France’s top diplomat in Hong Kong, March Fonbaustier has been suspended and recalled to Paris following allegations that he stole two expensive bottles of wine from the elite Hong Kong Country Club, it has been reported.

According to the South China Morning Post, Fonbaustier was caught on security cameras at the country club taking bottles of Bordeaux.

Beijing officials sought his removal after security videos captured him putting the bottles of wine into his jacket pockets.

An investigation was launched when Fonbaustier allegedly took a second bottle of wine from the same club, which invites diplomats to enjoy its facilities.

Fonbaustier, formally second councellor at the French embassy in New Delhi, was recalled days later on 22 November.

It has been reported that the bottle of wine were worth thousands of pounds.

While the French foreign ministry has not explicitly confirmed that the alleged theft led to Fonbaustiers suspension, they did confirm it was due to misconduct.

The French consulate in Hong Kong declined to comment on the reasons for Fonbaustier’s suspension on Wednesday, 1 November, or the alleged wine theft. He has been replaced by his deputy Agnes Humruzian.

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