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Lee, wife of Hanjin chair, indicted for assault

Jan 02,2019
Lee Myung-hee, wife of Hanjin Group and Korean Air Chairman Cho Yang-ho, was indicted Monday for assaulting company employees.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office charged Lee without detention for assault and obstruction of business. She is accused of 22 cases of physical or verbal abuse involving nine employees between November 2011 and April 2018.

The reported incidents include one where she allegedly threw pruning shears at a janitor at her house, complaining that he kept a door open for too long.

She has also accused of kicking and abusing her driver for not having loaded objects into the trunk of the car.

The obstruction of business charge stems from an incident where Lee pushed a landscape planner and kicked construction materials at the building site for the Incheon Hyatt Hotel last year.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police initially asked for an arrest warrant in May but were rejected. The case was handed over to prosecutors two months later. Lee was originally accused of 24 incidents of assault by police, but prosecutors decided to pursue 22 incidents, saying that the other two didn’t qualify for indictment.

Lee’s indictment is the latest in a string of gapjil, or abuse of power, cases against the Cho family. The family, which first became infamous after 2014’s “nut rage” scandal, was thrust into the spotlight once again last April when younger daughter Cho Hyun-min was caught verbally abusing an employee of the airline’s advertising agency and allegedly throwing some kind of beverage.

The scandal opened the doors for a score of investigations from government agencies, ranging from the police to immigration authorities. On Dec. 28, Lee and her two daughters were indicted on charges of smuggling goods including luxury items from overseas.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]


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