Asia

'Nut rage': Prosecutors seek arrest for Korean Air executive

In this Dec. 12, 2014 file photo, Cho Hyun-ah, who was head of cabin service at Korean Air and the oldest child of Korean Air Chairman Cho Yang-ho, speaks to the media upon her arrival for questioning at the Aviation and Railway Accident Investigation Board office of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport in Seoul, South Korea Image copyright AP
Image caption Ms Cho Hyun-ah has begged the public for forgiveness over her conduct

Prosecutors in South Korea are seeking an arrest warrant for a Korean Air executive at the centre of a storm over how nuts were served to her on a plane.

Ms Cho Hyun-ah is alleged to have broken the law when she ordered the plane to turn back after nuts were served in a bag instead of a plate.

She is also alleged to have jabbed a flight steward with a document folder.

Ms Cho, who is also the daughter of the Korean Air chief, resigned and publicly apologised amid public outrage.

Prosecutors are also charging another Korean Air executive with allegedly attempting to cover up the incident during a subsequent investigation.

A court is due to review the arrest warrant applications next week.

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

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

'Made to kneel'

Prosecutors said that they would seek to charge Ms Cho with in-flight violence and changing a flight route.

Image copyright AP
Image caption South Korean sales of the nutritious nut are reported to have boomed in the wake of the scandal

A government investigation found that she 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 to offload the flight attendant, who was fired on the spot before the plane proceeded on its journey from New York to Incheon. He has since been reinstated.

Ms Cho has since issued two tearful public apologies and resigned from all her posts.

She insists that she did not physically assault the chief steward, who says she made him kneel and made him beg forgiveness before jabbing him with a document folder.

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Media captionHeather Cho spoke so quietly at a news conference she could barely be heard

Another Korean Air official is alleged to have ordered key witnesses in the case to change their evidence during a transport ministry probe.

Separately, an official from the transport ministry was arrested on Wednesday for leaking details of the government investigation to Korean Air officials.

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