A ‘vengeful’ text message casts light on younger Cho

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A ‘vengeful’ text message casts light on younger Cho

The younger sister of Cho Hyun-ah, whose outburst on a Korean Air flight earned her a pre-trial arrest warrant late Tuesday night, faced public backlash once again on Wednesday when local media streamed reports that she promised her older sister in a recent text message that she would “take revenge no matter what.”

It is unclear how Cho Hyun-min, 31, who goes by Emily, planned to seek vengeance, but the prosecution said the message had previously been uncovered during its investigation and was submitted to the court at the elder Cho’s arrest warrant hearing.

The elder Cho, 40, became mired in controversy on Dec. 5 after she forced an Incheon-bound plane back to the gate at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to eject the flight’s cabin manager after a dispute over the way her macadamia nuts were served in first class.

On her Twitter account on Wednesday, the younger Cho wrote, “I don’t want to make excuses because it’s all my fault. ... [I was being] immature.”

In an earlier upload that was deleted soon after, she wrote that the text message was triggered by an urge for “instant retribution” after reading a malicious comment under an online news article about the incident involving her older sister.

The younger Cho is one among the three children of Cho Yang-ho, the founder of Hanjin Group and the chairman of Korean Air. The senior vice president of marketing and public relations for the company’s budget airline Jin Air, she initially came under fire two weeks ago over an email sent to her employees, in which she stressed that any lack of flexibility in the company’s culture was the “responsibility of each and every employee.”

On Tuesday, the Seoul Western District Court issued an arrest warrant against the older Cho, the former vice president of Korean Air, at around 10:30 p.m., stating that it had decided to detain her after “considering the gravity of the case and systemized efforts to conceal her allegations.”

Cho Hyun-ah is accused of violating the Aviation Safety Law by ordering a plane back to the gate and pressuring flight attendants onboard to change their testimonies about what really happened while attempting to get rid of any incriminating evidence.

Another Korean Air executive, a 57-year-old official surnamed Yeo, was also detained Tuesday on charges that he pressured flight crew to give false accounts of Cho’s behavior and ordered his subordinates to delete any flight records regarding the accident.

Both are currently jailed at the Seoul Nambu Correctional Service in Guro District, western Seoul.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [selee@joongang.co.kr]

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