Editorial Notes

Did 'nut rage' heiress' company broker her early jail release, asks The Korea Herald

Former Korean Air vice-president Cho Hyun Ah was serving a one-year sentence handed in February when an appeals court reduced her prison term to 10 months suspended for two years. She was released from jail in May.
Former Korean Air vice-president Cho Hyun Ah was serving a one-year sentence handed in February when an appeals court reduced her prison term to 10 months suspended for two years. She was released from jail in May.PHOTO: REUTERS

In its editorial on July 30, 2015, the Korea Herald says it seems to be business as usual at Korean Air and its affiliate - protect the heiress at all costs.

Former Korean Air vice-president Cho Hyun Ah's name graced the headlines once again in connection to an unsavoury incident.

It involves allegations that a broker, named Yeom, secured a business deal with Hanjin Rent-A-Car, a Korean Air affiliate, in exchange for getting Cho preferential treatment in jail.

Cho earned global ignominy with "nut rage" - an incident in which she physically and verbally abused flight attendants and ordered a taxiing aircraft to return to the gate after she became enraged at how macadamia nuts were served in the first class cabin.

She was serving a one-year sentence handed in February when an appeals court reduced her prison term to 10 months suspended for two years. She was released from jail in May.

The latest incident was discovered while the prosecutors were investigating a separate case in which a New Politics Alliance for Democracy legislator is alleged to have asked Hanjin Group to hire his relative.

The investigation into Yeom's case so far has revealed that he approached a high-ranking Hanjin Group official, offering to get special treatment for Cho in jail.

In May, following her release, he was given a contract with Hanjin Rent-A-Car.

The Hanjin Group official involved in the case and Yeom have known each other since the Korean Air crash in Guam in 1997 when the accused served as a representative for the victims' families. The accident claimed 228 victims.

Apparently, Yeom's ties with the Hanjin Group were shady back then too.

He was convicted of receiving a total of 280 million won from the same Hanjin Group official on three separate occasions in exchange for arranging favourable conditions for the company in its dealings with the victims' families.

The prosecutors are also investigating exactly what privileges were provided to Cho while in jail, but it is known that the near monopolising of the meeting room at the prison - a room for meetings between prisoners and lawyers - during her incarceration is under probe.

The latest jail broker incident is a stark reminder that Hanjin Group and its founding family have not learnt any lessons from the "nut rage" fall out.

For them, it seems to be business as usual - protect the heiress at all costs, even at huge costs to the company.


Editorial Notes reproduces editorials appearing in member papers of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, a voluntary grouping of 22 newspapers.