Date
25 September 2017
Heather Cho has been charged with violating aviation security law and obstructing a government investigation. Photo: Reuters
Heather Cho has been charged with violating aviation security law and obstructing a government investigation. Photo: Reuters

Korean Air chairman’s daughter charged over nut case

South Korean prosecutors on Wednesday filed charges against the daughter of the Korean Air Lines chairman for delaying a flight following an outburst over the way she was served nuts.

Heather Cho, a former executive of the airline and head of in-flight service before she resigned, was charged with violating aviation security law and obstructing a government investigation, Reuters reported. She has been held in custody by a court since Dec. 30.

Cho had demanded the chief steward be removed from the flight at John F. Kennedy airport in New York after another flight attendant in first class served her macadamia nuts in a bag, not on a dish.

The early December incident, which media has dubbed the “nut rage” case, has aggravated public resentment of South Korea’s powerful family-run conglomerates, called chaebol, which are seen as dominating the economy and contributing to a widening wealth gap.

The Airbus A380 on which Cho was traveling had pushed back from its gate but returned for the chief attendant to disembark. It arrived in South Korea 11 minutes late.

Deputy chief prosecutor Kim Chang-hee told reporters Cho had disrupted the flight and “threatened the plane’s safety”.

The transport ministry had concluded that Cho abused flight attendants and that airline officials may have tried to cover up the incident.

Another airline official was detained over allegations that he abetted perjury and obtained information on the ministry’s investigation to update Cho.

“The unprecedented case of the plane’s return undermined Korean Air’s credibility and also damaged national dignity,” the Seoul Western District Prosecutors’ Office said in a statement.

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CG

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