Arrest warrant sought for S. Korea 'nut rage' heiress
SEOUL, South Korea – South Korean prosecutors applied Wednesday, December 24 for an arrest warrant for Korean Air heiress Cho Hyun-Ah, who delayed a flight with a tantrum over snacks in a "nut rage" incident that caused a national uproar.
The prosecutors' office said the 40-year-old daughter of the airline's boss faced charges including violation of the aviation safety law, coercion and interference in the execution of duty.
"Our office has sent a request for the court to issue an arrest warrant," the office said.
Cho was accused of forcing the chief purser off a December 5 New York-Seoul flight and of compelling the taxiing plane to return to the gate so he could disembark.
She took exception to being served macadamia nuts she had not asked for – and in a bag, not a bowl.
A government investigation found that she had screamed and hurled abuse at a flight attendant and the chief purser, Park Chang-Jin.
An arrest warrant is also being sought for an unidentified company executive on charges of destroying evidence from the incident.
A court will hold a hearing early next week to review the warrant application.
Cho has insisted that she did not physically assault the chief purser, but prosecutors said she had pushed the flight attendant, based on the testimony of passengers and other flight attendants.
Park has claimed that Cho pushed him into the cockpit door and jabbed him with a service manual.
Cho – one of 3 children of Korean Air (KAL) boss Cho Yang-Ho, the patriarch of business conglomerate Hanjin Group – has publicly apologized and resigned from all her posts in the organization. (READ: Korean Air CEO apologizes for daughter's 'foolish act')
Prosecutors are also investigating whether KAL officials coerced cabin crew to give false testimony to government inspectors to protect Cho.
On Wednesday a transport ministry official was arrested for leaking some details of the ministry's investigation to KAL officials.
The ministry has vowed to sanction the airline 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 $2 million. – Rappler.com