Police impose travel ban on Hanjin group chief's daughter for investigation

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2018-04-17 11:22 Updated : 2018-04-17 11:22
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[Yonhap Photo]


SEOUL -- Police imposed a travel ban on the youngest daughter of Hanjin Group patriarch Cho Yang-ho Tuesday for a criminal investigation into her alleged "water" tantrum thrown at a business meeting with advertising officials.

Police said Cho Hyun-min, a senior executive of the country's top flag carrier Korean Air, was not allowed to go abroad pending an investigation that followed news reports that she screamed and threw water in the face of an advertising agency official at her office on March 16.

The 35-year-old who uses her English name, Cho Emily Lee, allegedly lost her temper because the advertising official did not properly answer her questions. Korean Air insisted she threw a cup of water onto the floor, not toward the face. Emily made a series of apologies for her "foolish and imprudent" behavior.

Public fury has been fanned by additional disclosures about Emily's arrogant behavior and insulting remarks at a number of private and business meetings. She was relieved from her post on Monday.

In an email sent Monday to Korean Air employees, she said she would not avoid legal responsibility for her behavior. "As I focused on my passion for work, I was not able to control rash words and actions which caused many people to be hurt and disappointed," she wrote.

Civic groups urged transport authorities to open a probe into allegations that Emily is an American citizen and illegally served as a board member of Hanjin's low-cost carrier Jin Air for six years from March 2010. Foreigners are not allowed to join a board of directors at flag carriers. Emily now serves as Korean Air's executive director, Ji Air vice president, Hanjin Travel CEO and KAL Hotel Network CEO.

The scandal came after Cho Hyun-ah, the elder sister known for her "nut rage" tantrum, was appointed as president of KAL Hotel Network, three years and four months after she resigned as Korean Air's vice president.

In December 2014, Hyun-ah became enraged when a flight attendant served her macadamia nuts in a bag, rather than on a plate, on board a flight from New York that was forced back to the gate while taxiing to the runway. The incident fueled public anger as it followed a slew of incidents involving group owners and their offsprings.

Hyun-ah was given a twelve-month prison sentence on conviction of violating aviation safety laws, but an appeals court overturned the conviction and handed down a suspended jail term, allowing her to walk free in May 2015. In December last year, the Supreme Court upheld the suspended jail term.

The 'nut rage' incident hurt Korean Air's reputation, forcing the group patriarch to apologize. Many South Koreans saw it as emblematic of a generation of spoilt and arrogant offspring of chaebol owners.