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Korean Air

Korean Air: ‘Mother of nut rage’ accused of abuse

The wife of the chairman of Korean Air has been summoned by police to respond to abuse allegations.

The aviation industry’s most scandal-hit family is in the headlines again today. Lee Myung-hee, wife of Korean Air Chairman Cho Yang-ho, has been questioned by police in Seoul over allegations she abused and assaulted employees.

She has been accused of physically or verbally attacking more than ten former and current employees of the conglomerate Hanjin, parent of Korean Air.

Outside a Seoul police station, she admitted to reporters that she felt “sorry for causing troubles”, the news agency Associated Press reports.

The accusations facing Lee Myung-hee, 69, include allegations she assaulted household staff, drivers and construction workers who have been renovating her home and building a Korean Air affiliated hotel, AFP reports. The alleged abuses include cursing, screaming, kicking, slapping and even throwing a pair of scissors at employees.

A video emerged last month showing a woman, reported to be Lee, pushing a female construction worker and throwing a pile of documents on the ground.

Anger issues
It is just the latest scandal to confront the family. Last week, Lee’s daughter Cho Hyun-ah was questioned immigration authorities over allegedly hiring ten maids from the Philippines, claiming they were working for Korean Air. It is illegal in South Korea to hire foreigners as domestic workers.

Hyun-ah hit headlines worldwide in 2014 for furiously kicking a Korean Air cabin crew member off a flight because she had been served macadamia nuts in a bag instead of in a bowl. She served a short prison sentence for this mistreatment, which became known as the “nut rage” scandal.

Earlier this year, her younger sister Hyun-min was accused of throwing a drink in an advertising executive’s face during a meeting – a scandal now known as “water rage”.

Authorities in South Korea are also busy looking into suspicions the Cho family has evaded taxes and used airline services to smuggle luxury goods.

Hundreds of Korean Air workers have been holding masked protests each week demanding that the family be removed from control of the flag carrier.

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