Pre-trial arrest warrant is sought for KAL heiress

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Pre-trial arrest warrant is sought for KAL heiress

Prosecutors are expected to seek a pre-trial arrest warrant for the former vice president of Korean Air Lines (KAL) on Wednesday on grounds that she violated the Aviation Safety Law, authorities said.

The investigation team at the Seoul Western District Prosecutors’ Office handling the case against Cho Hyun-ah said on Tuesday that it will request that the court grant a pre-trial arrest warrant on Wednesday on multiple charges, which include coercion and violating the Aviation Safety and Security Act.

The move against 40-year-old Cho follows revelations that she attempted to destroy evidence indicating that she had used abusive language and was possibly physically violent toward the flight crew on a plane bound for Incheon from New York.

The discovery is thought to have compelled prosecutors to take the disgraced executive into custody.

Cho made international headlines earlier this month when she delayed a flight at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Dec. 5, complaining about the way the macadamia nuts were served in first class and forcing the plane to turn around in order to eject the cabin manager.

The incident drew strong public backlash and led her father Cho Yang-ho, the chairman of the sprawling Hanjin Group, to issue a public apology.

A court will review the validity of the warrant request by prosecutors before deciding whether to grant one. If the request is granted, it would immediately place the KAL heiress behind bars.

Last week, Cho underwent more than 10 hours of questioning, during which she was said to have denied that she inflicted physical harm on the cabin manger and a flight attendant.

Her story has been contradicted by the cabin manager, Park Chang-jin, and a first class passenger. Both asserted that Cho used physical violence against the flight crew.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]


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