Korean Air to get tougher on unruly passengers and ease stun gun rules

US singer Richard Marx (centre, partially blocked) helping to subdue a violent passenger on the Korean Air flight.
US singer Richard Marx (centre, partially blocked) helping to subdue a violent passenger on the Korean Air flight. PHOTO: TWITTER/ RICHARD MARX

SEOUL (REUTERS) - Korean Air Lines said it will allow crew members to "readily use stun guns" to manage in-flight disturbances, after coming in for criticism from US singer Richard Marx for its handling of an incident involving a violent passenger.

The South Korean carrier also said on Tuesday (Dec 27) that it will beef up security training of crew members.

Last week, Marx said on Facebook and Twitter that he helped to subdue "a psycho passenger attacking crew members and other passengers", accusing crew members of being "ill-trained"and "ill-equipped" to handle the "chaotic and dangerous event".

Marx's wife, Daisy Fuentes, who was with the singer during the flight from Vietnam to South Korea, said on Instagram that crew members "didn't know how to use the taser & they didn't know how to secure the rope around him (he got loose from their rope restraints 3 times)."

Korean Air Lines said on Tuesday that its crew members are "hesitant" to use Taser guns, because they are permitted for use in only "grave" situations which jeopardise the life of a passenger or crew member or the safety of a flight.

"We have decided to improve our conditions and procedure on using Taser guns to cope with violent acts and disturbances on board in a fast and efficient manner," it said in a statement, without elaborating on how it would revise the rules.


However, a spokesman said the changes would ease conditions on using Taser guns so that crew can "readily use stun guns".

In South Korea, the number of unlawful acts committed aboard airplanes has more than tripled over the past five years, according to government data.

Video footage of the recent incident posted on YouTube showed a young man in a business class seat spat and swore at crew members trying to restrain him with a rope.

On Monday, the passenger appeared for questioning by police, wearing a mask, thick-rimmed glasses and a hat.

He apologised for his behaviour but said he could not remember what had happened, according to video shown by broadcaster SBS.

South Korean website The Investor reported the passenger to be son of Mr Lim Byung Sun, chairman of makeup brush manufacturer Doojung.