25 June 2019
Heather Cho (center) is escorted to a detention facility in Seoul. Photo: Reuters
Heather Cho (center) is escorted to a detention facility in Seoul. Photo: Reuters

Ex-Korean Air executive detained in nut case

A former Korean Air Lines executive has been detained in Seoul for delaying a flight in an outburst over the way she was served nuts, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Heather Cho demanded the plane return to the gate at John F. Kennedy airport in New York on Dec. 5 so that the purser, who was in charge of the cabin crew, could be removed.

Cho’s beef? A flight attendant had served her macadamia nuts in a bag, not a dish.

The South Korean court’s decision to detain her late Tuesday came after prosecutors sought a detention warrant last week for Cho, 40, eldest child of the airline’s chairman and head of in-flight service before she resigned after the incident.

She faces charges of violating South Korea’s aviation safety law.

“The necessity for detention is recognized, as the case is grave and there has been an attempt to systematically cover up charges from the beginning,” Lee Kwang-woo, a judge who handles media affairs, said.

On her way to a detention facility from the prosecutors’ office late Tuesday, Cho was flanked by prosecution officials and did not respond to questions from media, only saying “sorry” several times, her eyes closed and her head bowed.

A probe by South Korea’s Transport Ministry concluded that Cho abused flight attendants during the incident and that airline officials may have tried to cover up the episode.

The ministry came under fire after revelations that some of its officials leaked information to the company and committed other misconduct during the investigation.

It said Monday it will punish eight officials involved in the case, one of whom was detained on Friday.

Cho’s case has aggravated resentment among South Koreans toward the country’s powerful family-run conglomerates, called chaebol, which dominate the economy.

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