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Arrest Made in Korean Air 'Nut Rage' Incident

  • VOA News

Cho Hyun-ah, center, former vice president of Korean Air Lines, arrives at the Seoul Western District Prosecutors Office in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 30, 2014.

Cho Hyun-ah, center, former vice president of Korean Air Lines, arrives at the Seoul Western District Prosecutors Office in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 30, 2014.

South Korean authorities have arrested a former airline executive who set off a firestorm of criticism by complaining about the way a flight attendant served her nuts.

Heather Cho, who is the daughter of the Korean Air Lines chief executive, was taken into custody Wednesday in Seoul on allegations of violating aviation safety.

Cho forced a December 5 flight to return to the gate in New York to remove a flight attendant who had served her macadamia nuts in a packet instead of on a plate.

She also is reported to have made the flight attendant kneel before her on the plane and repeatedly poked the back of the attendant's hand with the sharp edge of a flight manual.

Some South Koreans see the 40-year-old as a spoiled corporate "princess" and the media have referred to her actions as the "nut rage" incident.

Cho looked down as she was led to prison, saying, "I'm sorry." She had already resigned from her position as vice president of Korean Air.

The prosecutor's office says she would face charges of in-flight violence and changing a flight route.

A Seoul court determined that Cho should be detained until charges are decided, saying there is a risk she could flee or destroy evidence.

Another Korean Air official was detained for allegedly trying to cover up the incident.

Fresh controversy was raised this week after it emerged that Emily Cho, another daughter of Korean Air chief executive Cho Yang-Ho, sent a message to her sister, vowing she will "surely take revenge."

Emily Cho apologized Wednesday, saying she is "sorry beyond words" for the message.

Some information for this report came from AP, AFP and Reuters.

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