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A Rare Protest By Korean Air Workers Against The Airline’s Ruling Family

A Rare Protest By Korean Air Workers Against The Airline’s Ruling Family

A Rare Protest By Korean Air Workers Against The Airline's Ruling Family

On Friday evening, hundreds of pilots, cabin crew and ground workers from Korean Air, gathered in Seoul to protest at what they call “abuse” from the airline’s ruling family.  Protestors were joined by Park Chang-jin, a long-serving member of cabin crew for the airline who was involved in the infamous #nutgate ‘nut rage’ drama in 2014.

Korean Air, is the largest airline in South Korea and is also what’s referred in the country as a “Chaebol” company – a large corporation that is privately owned by a ruling family.  Critics say the Chaebol are run as personal fiefdoms with little external oversight.

“We cannot take any more curse and power abuse by the Cho family,” shouted the protestors.  They were referring to a number of allegations that have been levelled at the airline’s chairman, Cho Yang-ho and his family members.

Yang-ho’s two daughters, Cho Hyun-min (Emily Cho) and Cho Hyun-ah (Heather Cho) have both resigned from the airline is the last few weeks.  Emily Cho was briefly jailed in 2015, having been found guilty of obstructing aviation safety under South Korean law.

Emily Cho was said to have become enraged when Park Chang-jin, a member of First Class cabin crew served her pre-departure macadamia nuts in a packet rather than in a porcelain ramekin.  Cho allegedly physically attacked Chang-jin and demanded the plane return to the gate at New York JFK airport so he could be off-loaded.

Emily Cho was forced to step down from her role at the airline but returned only recently to a position in a hotel business that’s also owned by Korean Air.

Meanwhile, Heather Cho is currently under investigation by South Korean police over allegations she threw a cup at an advertising agency executive.  She has called her actions “foolish” but claims she threw the cup of water at the floor.

Both sisters have stepped down from their roles as allegations continue to spring up around them.  Police are also investigating possible tax evasion charges and allegations of smuggling which involved Korean Air employees.

Park Chang-jin, who still works for the airline, told the crowd: I’m proud of Korean Air. I love Korean Air. Let’s protect Korean Air.”  Many of the protesters wore masks to protect their identities but were wearing distinctive Korean Air pilot uniforms.

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