Saudi Arabian envoys top a list of fine-dodging diplomats in Australia released by the government Tuesday in an effort to embarrass them into paying up.
Saudi diplomats in Canberra have amassed more than 140,000 Australian dollars (108,486 US dollars) in unpaid traffic fines, but police are powerless to enforce payment because the individuals claim diplomatic immunity.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs made the highly unusual move of releasing the figures to the Canberra Times, after it told embassies that the government did not consider traffic offences to be covered by diplomatic immunity and asked diplomats to pay their fines.
Fines totaling 500,000 Australian dollars are owed for traffic offences by foreign diplomats in Canberra, mainly parking, going through red lights and speeding, the newspaper reported.
Russian diplomats came second in unpaid fines followed by Indonesia, Fiji, Egypt, Slovakia, Egypt, Jordan, Samoa, United Arab Emirates, Romania, Zambia, Chile, Sri Lanka and Iran.
The department revealed diplomats had been caught drink-driving on Canberra streets, but police had no choice but to let them go on their way.
The department orders all Australian diplomats working overseas to pay their traffic fines, but in Canberra all the department can do is write “courtesy letters” to foreign embassies asking them to pay up.