South Korean prosecutors yesterday questioned Korean Air Lines heiress and former senior executive Cho Hyun-ah over her reported fit of “nut rage” aboard an aircraft this month, which sparked a national uproar.
The 40-year-old daughter of the airline’s chief executive and chairman forced the chief cabin crew member off a flight from New York to Seoul and compelled the taxiing plane to return to the gate after she took exception to being served macadamia nuts she had not asked for — and in a bag, not a bowl.
“I am sorry,” Cho said as she was mobbed by journalists and photographers when she appeared at the Seoul Western Prosecutors’ Office, keeping her head low and her face covered with shoulder-length hair.
A South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport investigation found that Cho breached aviation safety laws when she screamed and hurled abuse at a flight attendant and the chief purser, Park Chang-jin, during the so-called “nut rage” incident on Dec. 5.
Prosecutors are expected to focus on whether she forced the purser off the flight, ordered the pilot to return the airplane to the gate and whether she used violence against the two crew members, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
Park has claimed that Cho pushed him into the cockpit door and jabbed him with a service manual.
She has denied reports that she made him and the flight attendant kneel and beg her forgiveness, but another passenger in first class has said that she forced both to their knees.
Cho — one of three children of Korean Air Lines chief executive Cho Yang-ho, who is also the patriarch of business conglomerate Hanjin Group — has publicly apologized and resigned from all her positions at the family-run group.
Prosecutors are also likely to investigate whether the airline’s executives coerced cabin crew members to give false testimony to South Korean government inspectors to protect Cho.
“There are concerns over evidence tampering, so we plan to stop this by filing for an arrest warrant,” a prosecutor was quoted as saying by the Chosun Ilbo daily newspaper.
The ministry on Tuesday said that it would sanction Korean Air with a flight ban, most likely on the New York-Seoul route, that could last for up to a month, or with fines of up to US$2 million.
It also asked prosecution authorities to open a criminal probe into the incident.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”