Police seek arrest of Korean Air matriarch

SEOUL • The woes of the troubled Korean Air dynasty deepened further yesterday as Seoul police announced they were seeking an arrest warrant for matriarch Lee Myung Hee over allegations that she assaulted employees.

Lee, 69, faces multiple allegations of assault against drivers and housekeepers from her personal staff as well as construction workers renovating her home and building a Korean Air-affiliated hotel. "Lee used her superior status to habitually abuse, insult and injure the socially disadvantaged without a sense of guilt," according to a statement from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency. "Despite the gravity of the case, she has denied the allegations by saying she has no recollection, raising concerns over destruction of evidence."

Lee was summoned by the police twice this week for questioning over the alleged abuses. They range from cursing and screaming at employees to kicking, slapping and even throwing a pair of scissors at them. A video that emerged last month showed a woman, reportedly Lee, shoving a female construction worker and throwing a pile of documents on the ground.

A Korean Air spokesman declined to comment on the matter, citing the ongoing investigation.

Lee's two daughters, who held management positions at South Korea's top carrier, became viral sensations for their own temper tantrums which were dubbed the "nut rage" and "water rage" scandals online. Her older daughter Cho Hyun Ah made global headlines in 2014 after kicking a cabin crew chief off a Korean Air plane for being served macadamia nuts in a bag rather than a bowl. She later served a short prison sentence.

Earlier this year, her younger sister Cho Hyun Min was accused of throwing a drink at an advertising agency manager's face in a fit of rage during a business meeting.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2018, with the headline 'Police seek arrest of Korean Air matriarch'. Print Edition | Subscribe