Ah, diplomatic immunity: the ultimate fantasy of scofflaws and screenwriters. But is it too good to be true? Two Dutch diplomats were reportedly enjoying their enviable above-the-law status last night at Arthur's Tavern in the West Village, where their tab ran upwards of $300. Of course, when you're a diplomat, you're not bound by such petty social mores as "paying for services rendered," so the two allegedly strolled out without paying. But according to the NY Post, when a trio of impudent police dared intervene and tried to arrest the diplomats, they fought the officers. An incident like this would normally push the United States and the Netherlands to the brink of nuclear war, but thankfully the Post article is inaccurate, and the two men aren't diplomats at all.
A spokesperson for The Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington, Floris van Hövell, tells us that the two men cited in the article, Kristopher Rendon, 31; and Rob Van der Hoek, 30; are not diplomats. According van Hövell, Rendon doesn't even work for the embassy. Van der Hoek does, but he's a local employee, not a diplomat. Van Hövell explains that most embassies around the world have two categories of employees: The first class is the expat staff from the home country, many of whom have diplomatic status and generally recognized immunity. (Here's how the U.S. State Department breaks it down.) The second category of employee consists of local staffers hired by the embassy to do "all kinds of work," much of it menial.
The lowly Van der Hoek falls into the second class of embassy employee, and as such lacks the legal freedom to walk out on a $300 tab or punch a cop in the face or break another cop's finger, which is what he's accused of doing. According to the Post, the fight with cops broke out after a waiter followed them out of the restaurant and alerted the police. The dipnomats were released on $1,500 bail, and two unidentified ladies accompanying them also face charges; one for disorderly conduct and the other for obstructing government administration. We're guessing these ladies will be immune to requests for another date.