Czech president's pen-pocketing act becomes web hit
- 13 April 2011
- From the section Europe
A video of the Czech president pocketing a ceremonial pen on a state visit to Chile has become an YouTube hit, attracting 1.5 million views.
The clip shows Vaclav Klaus admiring the jewel-encrusted pen at a news conference with the Chilean president, before discreetly stashing it away.
Chilean officials say that their visitors are free to take the pens after official signing ceremonies.
However the clip has caused an embarrassing media stir for the leader.
Czech TV broadcast the video with red circles and arrows highlighting the pen, which was then posted online with a "crime scene" soundtrack.
The video shows Mr Klaus picking up and looking at the pen - encrusted with semiprecious Chilean lapiz lazuli stone - as Chilean President Sebastian Pinera makes a welcoming address for the Czech leader.
Mr Klaus then takes the pen under the table where he appears to put it in his pocket, before doing up his jacket, closing the case on the table, and grinning.
A spokesman for Mr Klaus said it was "a common pen with a logo of the state or office, which presidents and members of their delegation receive during state visits".
Mr Klaus was quoted by the Novinky.cz news site as saying it was "standard to take a pen from an event".
He also remarked that it was a ballpoint pen, rather than a fountain pen.
The clip has also inspired a Facebook collection for Mr Klaus.
Readers are encouraged to send pens to his office on 2 May "as the president obviously has nothing to write with", according to the Facebook group.