Korean Air heiress suspended over alleged cup toss

SEOUL: Korean Air suspended the youngest daughter of its chairman, a sister of the infamous "nut rage" heiress, from duties yesterday pending a police investigation of complaints that she threw a cup of water at someone.

Ms Cho Hyun Min, a senior vice-president, faced pressure from the airline's unions to step down after media reports that she threw water on the face of an advertising agency manager, sparking a public backlash.

"Korean Air has excluded senior vice-president Cho Hyun Min from work and suspended her from duties as of April 16 until the outcome of the police investigation," the airline said in a statement.

Ms Cho, also known as Emily Cho, apologised last Thursday for what she called her "foolish behaviour".

Korean Air said last Friday - in response to media reports that Ms Cho had thrown a water bottle at someone's face - she had thrown either a water bottle or a cup on the floor, but not at anyone's face. Yesterday, the airline said it was a cup.

Ms Cho, speaking to TV channel MBC after she cut short a vacation overseas and arrived back home on Sunday, denied she had thrown a cup of water at the manager's face but said she had "pushed" it. She added that her action was "foolish".

Ms Cho's older sister Cho Hyun Ah, or Heather Cho, made headlines over the notorious "nut rage" incident in 2014, when she lost her temper over the way she was served macadamia nuts in first class.

Korean Air's employee union and two pilots' unions said in a joint statement on Sunday that the younger Ms Cho's actions had harmed the reputation of Korean Air.

They want her to step down and offer a sincere apology to all employees and the public.

Ms Cho also apologised to employees in an e-mail on Sunday. - REUTERS