World News

Korean Air heiress banned from leaving country

Korean Air heiress banned from leaving country

A legal battle lies ahead for Korean Air Senior Vice President Cho Hyun-min, who appointed an attorney Monday and said that she had actually "pushed" - not thrown - a cup of water toward an advertising agency manager during a meeting last month.

Korean Air has suspended Cho Hyun-min for an alleged violent outburst at a meeting.

"We will continue to corroborate additional suspicion through investigation and have requested a travel ban for Senior Vice President Cho", police said in the statement. It added that it would take "appropriate measures" following the police probe.

Heather Cho was found guilty of breaking aviation law and jailed for a year over her "nut rage" incident but was freed in May 2015 after an appeal. Cho oversaw the company's marketing and commercials.

She is facing pressure to step down and has apologised for her "foolish behaviour".

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She wrote: 'As I was focusing on my passion for the work, I was unable to control my thoughtless words and deeds, through which I caused injury and disappointment for a lot of people'.

She is the younger sister of Cho Hyun-ah - the airline heiress who infamously delayed a flight over a packet of nuts.

The police investigation will determine whether Cho threw the water on the floor, as Korean Air maintains, or toward the ad agency official's face, as some media report, which could constitute physical assault.

The case attracted intense attention in South Korea, reopening a national debate about the Korean business system, which is dominated by family firms known as chaebols. Members of the founding families of giant business groups called chaebol, often including the second or third generations, are treated as "emperors".

South Korea's national flagship carrier did not elaborate on what steps it will take. A petition has been filed with the government calling on the country's flagship carrier to shed the word "Korean" from its name, citing the behavior of not only Cho, but her elder sister Cho Hyun-ah - a former executive who faced flak and resigned after forcing an global flight to return to the gate after getting upset over how a bag of nuts was served.


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