Korean Air to use stun guns on unruly travellers

GIMPO (South Korea) • Korean Air Lines said it will allow crew members to "readily use stun guns" to manage violent passengers, and hire more male flight attendants, after coming in for criticism from American singer Richard Marx over its handling of a recent incident.

The new crew guidelines, announced yesterday following the Dec 20 incident, will also include more staff training, use of a device to tie up a violent passenger, and the banning of passengers with a history of unruly behaviour.

Men account for about one-tenth of Korean Air flight attendants, and the carrier said it will try to have at least one man on duty in the cabin for each flight.

"While US carriers have taken stern action on violent on-board behaviour following the terrorist attacks of Sept 11 (2001), Asian carriers, including us, have not imposed tough standards because of Asian culture," Korean Air president Chi Chang Hoon said at a news conference.

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

South Korean police yesterday sought an arrest warrant for the passenger involved in the latest incident, identified by his surname Lim, on charges including inflicting injury on the crew and a passenger on the Vietnam to South Korea flight.

An airline spokesman said the man had consumed 21/2 shots of whiskey during the flight.

The incident came to light when Marx said on Facebook and Twitter that he helped subdue "a psycho passenger attacking crew members and other passengers". He also accused crew members of being "ill-trained" and "ill-equipped" to handle the "chaotic and dangerous event".

Marx's wife - Daisy Fuentes, a television host and model who was with the singer during the flight - said on Instagram that crew members "didn't know how to use the Taser and they didn't know how to secure the rope around him (he got loose from their rope restraints three times)".


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2016, with the headline 'Korean Air to use stun guns on unruly travellers'. Print Edition | Subscribe