A leading Swedish diplomat has become the center of an embarrassing storm of criticism in Hong Kong, after throwing a tantrum over his inability to get a table at an exclusive, members-only club in the city.
An email sent earlier this week by the president of the Foreign Correspondents' Club (FCC) to its members, including leading figures from Hong Kong's business and diplomatic communities, alluded to an incident in which an unnamed member of the club “insulted staff during a loud tirade, and cut up his membership card in disgust,” after turning up with a large party and being refused a table. “All we can say,” the email added, “is good riddance.”
The individual in question has now been revealed by the South China Morning Post as Jorgen Halldin, Sweden's consul general in Hong Kong and Macau since September 2011.
"You are correctly informed that I got upset at my most recent visit to the FCC, for which I am very sorry," he told the paper. "There is never an excuse for being upset, and I regret this deeply. I have the highest regard for the FCC, of which I have been a member for about a year, and this was a highly unfortunate incident."
In the email, the club said that the man -- now identified as Halldin-- turned up at the facility's main bar with a group of 12 people, but was refused service, as policy dictates a maximum of eight people per table.
The club said it is now asking members to vote on a proposal that would allow it to temporarily ban members from the facility, pending a hearing, if they were involved in disciplinary incidents.