Nut rage: Former Korean Air executive Cho Hyun-ah 'guilty of violating aviation safety law'

Court said Cho Hyun-ah was guilty of forcing a flight to change its route

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The Independent Online

A former Korean Air Lines executive has been found guilty of violating aviation safety law after a tantrum over how she was served macadamia nuts on a plane to Seoul from New York City.

The court said that Cho Hyun-ah, also known as Heather Cho, was guilty of forcing a flight to change its route, the most serious of the charges she faced.

Prosecutors have called for three years in prison for the violation, which can carry a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Ms Cho, the daughter of Korean Air Lines chairman Cho Yang-ho, achieved worldwide notoriety after she ordered the chief flight attendant off a flight on December 5, forcing it to return to the gate at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.

She was annoyed to have been offered macadamia nuts in a bag instead of on a dish in the First Class cabin and had a heated confrontation with chief flight attendant Park Chang-jin.

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Before Mr Chang-jin was forced off the flight, she allegedly forced him to kneel and beg for forgiveness while jabbing him with a document folder, the BBC reported.

Her father – who apologised for her behaviour – said in court that he "regrets that he didn’t raise her better".

Ms Cho, who has been in custody since her arrest on 30 December, said she did not realise the chief flight attendant had law enforcement authority during the flight and that ordering him off the plane was a risk to safety.

The court also found Ms Cho guilty of obstructing the flight's captain in the performance of his duties and forcing a crew member off a plane. It found her not guilty of interfering with a transport ministry investigation into the incident.

A sentence is expected later Thursday.

Additional reporting by AP

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