South Korea moves to allow use of force against in-flight violence in wake of Richard Marx incident

Crew members of Korean Air using stun guns at a training centre in Seoul on Dec 27, 2016.
Crew members of Korean Air using stun guns at a training centre in Seoul on Dec 27, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL - South Korean airlines will soon be required to carry rope and even handcuffs on each of their flights to restrain passengers causing violence or disturbance, the government said Thursday (Feb 2), weeks after a drunk man went on a near rampage on a Korean Air flight.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said it will also require flight attendants to film any in-flight incidents to be used as evidence, Yonhap news agency reported.

Such changes will be made in a revision to airline safety regulations announced Thursday, the ministry said.

"Airlines will be asked to revise their own safety rules following the administrative announcement," a ministry official was quoted as saying.

The number of unlawful acts committed aboard airplanes in the country has more than tripled over the past five years, according to government data.


In December, an air-rage incident made headlines after American singer Richard Marx said on Facebook and Twitter that he helped subdue "a psycho passenger attacking crew members and other passengers" aboard a Korean Air flight.

Marx said that crew members of being "ill-trained" and "ill-equipped" to handle the "chaotic and dangerous event".

An airline spokesman later said the unruly passenger had consumed 2½ shots of whiskey during the flight.

Ministry officials said recorded footage of in-flight violence will allow prosecution of those causing such violence, noting a lack of hard evidence had often led to the acquittal of suspects in the past, reported Yonhap.

Currently, only aviation safety agents are required to record footage of in-flight violence.