Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageKorean Air heiress treated crew like 'feudal slaves': Chief purser

By Lim Chang-Won (AFP)     Feb 2, 2015 in World

A Korean Air chief purser forced off a plane by airline heiress Cho Hyun-Ah in a notorious "nut rage" incident testified at her trial Monday that she treated flight crew like "feudal slaves".

Prosecutors have demanded a three-year jail term for Cho, saying she showed no sign of "earnest remorse" and has tried to lay the blame for the incident on flight crew.

In December she forced the chief purser to leave a New York-Seoul flight before it took off, compelling the taxiing plane to return to the gate so he could disembark.

The 40-year-old, who was a KAL vice president at the time, took exception to being served macadamia nuts for which she had not asked -- and in a bag, not a bowl. The incident sparked public outrage in South Korea.

Cho has been charged with air safety violations as well as coercing staff to give false testimony and interfering in the execution of their duty.

In court on Monday, chief purser Park Chang-Jin accused Cho of treating flight attendants like "feudal slaves" and urged her to reflect sincerely on her "irrational and senseless" conduct.

"I think Cho did not show an ounce of conscience, treating powerless people like myself as feudal slaves and forcing us to sacrifice unilaterally," he said in a tearful voice.

"Like a beast that found its prey gritting its teeth, she yelled and became violent, never listening to what I said," he said.

Cho Hyun-Ah  the daughter of Korean Air's chief executive  arrives for questioning at the prose...
Cho Hyun-Ah, the daughter of Korean Air's chief executive, arrives for questioning at the prosecutors' office in Seoul, on December 17, 2014
Jung Yeon-Je, AFP/File

Park has said Cho made him kneel and beg for forgiveness while jabbing him with a service manual.

On Monday Cho apologised for her "rash" conduct but insisted the affair originated from the breach of the service manual by flight attendants.

She denied using violence against Park and said the pilot made a final decision to force him off the plane.

Her lawyers have argued that there had been no breach of safety laws, given that the plane had not even reached the runway when it turned back.

Prosecutors also demanded a two-year jail sentence each for a company executive charged with evidence-tampering and a transport ministry official, who is accused of leaking details of a government probe into the case.

Cho, the eldest daughter of Korean Air chief Cho Yang-Ho, has been in custody since December 30.

Cho Yang-Ho has said no crew members would lose their jobs over the incident or subsequent investigations.

But Park, who returned to work on Sunday, expressed concern about possible damage to his career -- saying he had been treated like an "expendable".

The incident was seen as emblematic of a generation of spoilt and arrogant offspring of owners of the giant family-run conglomerates, or "chaebols," that dominate the economy.

The story hit international headlines and was seen as something of a national embarrassment, with South Korean media commentators suggesting Cho had shamed the country.

The transport ministry plans to sanction KAL with a limited flight route ban that could last for up to a month, or fines of up to $2 million.

More about skorea, Aviation, Trial, Kal
More news from
Latest News
Top News