Korean Air boss apologises as immature 'nut rage' daughters resign

Korean Air Lines chairman Cho Yang Ho arriving at the Seoul Western District Court on Jan 30, 2015. Mr Cho apologised for the behaviour of his two daughters and said they would step down, on April 22, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (AFP) - Korean Air chairman Cho Yang Ho on Sunday (April 22) apologised for the "immature" behaviour of his two daughters and said they would both immediately resign from their company posts following separate controversies.

Younger daughter Cho Hyun Min, who is a marketing executive at the South Korean flag carrier, is under police investigation for assault after she was accused of throwing water into a man's face at a business meeting.

Four years ago, her sister Cho Hyun Ah made global headlines for angrily kicking a cabin crew member off a plane after being served macadamia nuts in a bag rather than a bowl - an incident quickly dubbed "nut rage".

"As chairman of Korean Air, as well as a father, I feel terrible about the immature actions of my daughters," Mr Cho said in a statement.

"Everything is my fault and my wrongdoing. I apologise to the people." He added that his two daughters will immediately step down from all positions in the company.

Seoul police said last week they were launching a formal investigation into the younger Ms Cho, based on the testimonies of people present at the meeting.

Following the incident, the 34-year-old issued a wide-ranging e-mail apology to "everyone" she had worked with for her behaviour, although she has denied throwing water in anyone's face.

The "nut rage" incident saw the older Ms Cho, then the firm's vice-president, forcing two flight attendants to kneel and beg for forgiveness on a Seoul-bound flight from New York before ejecting one of them from the plane before takeoff.

The incident was one of the most infamous cases involving offspring of one of South Korea's mega-wealthy business elite families, whose arrogance and bad behaviour regularly make headlines.

The notorious heiress was jailed but had returned to work as an executive of Korean Air's hotel affiliate in March.

Mr Cho's apology also comes after South Korean customs officials raided the airline's headquarters and the chairman's family home last Friday to look into allegations that the family had evaded duties on luxury goods brought into the country, media reports said.

Investigators from the Korea Customs Service raided the main office of Korean Air in Seoul and the house of chairman Cho as well as his two daughters and son, Yonhap reported.

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