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'Nut rage': Korean Air ex-executive Cho Hyun-ah detained

Cho Hyun-Ah (centre) is surrounded by journalists outside a court in Seoul on 30 December 2014 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Ms Cho bowed her head to obscure her face and told reporters: "I'm sorry"

A former Korean Air executive who delayed a plane over how nuts were served has been detained.

TV footage showed Cho Hyun-ah being led away, shortly after a court in South Korea granted a warrant for her arrest.

Ms Cho, the daughter of Korean Air's chief executive, is being charged with violating aviation safety law and impeding crew in their duties.

She ordered the plane to turn back on the runway in New York after nuts were served in a bag, not on a plate.

She has denied physically assaulting the chief steward, Park Chang-jin, who says she made him kneel and beg for forgiveness before jabbing him with a document folder.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Ms Cho allegedly shouted abuse at a flight attendant after he served her macadamia nuts in a bag

Ms Cho, also known as Heather Cho, has already apologised and resigned as head of the airline's flight service.

TV images late on Tuesday showed the 40-year-old Cho being taken away by prosecutors, with her head bowed. When asked by reporters for a comment, she said: "I'm sorry."

Another airline executive has also been arrested, accused of destroying evidence relating to the case.

South Korea's transport ministry said this month that it would take disciplinary measures against the airline in the wake of the incident.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ms Cho was taken to a detention centre after a court in Seoul granted a warrant for her arrest

Korean Air could face either a partial flight ban or a fine, the ministry said.

A government investigation found that Ms Cho screamed and shouted abuse at a flight attendant after he served her macadamia nuts in a bag.

She then ordered the plane to go back to the terminal at New York's JFK airport to offload the attendant, who was fired on the spot before the plane proceeded on its journey. He has since been reinstated.

The incident forced the flight to Seoul to be delayed.

Her father, Korean Air chairman Cho Yang-Ho, has apologised for his daughter's "foolish act".

Mr Cho also said his daughter would step down from all her posts in companies under the Cho family-owned Hanjin Group, which also owns Korean Air.

The Hanjin Group is one of South Korea's top family conglomerates, called chaebol.

Correspondents say the incident has started a debate in South Korea about whether the country's large family firms unduly favour the children of the owners.

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