Wife and daughter of Hanjin's late chairman given suspended jail sentences

Lim Chang-won Reporter() | Posted : July 2, 2019, 15:54 | Updated : July 2, 2019, 15:54

Lee Myung-hee [Yonhap Photo]

SEOUL -- The wife and daughter of Hanjin Group's late chairman Cho Yang-ho received suspended jail sentences on charges of hiring Filipino housemaids illegally, almost finishing basic legal procedures that followed a tumultuous scandal caused by the arrogant behavior of Cho's youngest daughter in April last year.

A district court in Seoul sentenced Lee Myung-hee, the wife of Hanjin's late chairman, to 18 months in prison with a stay of execution for three years and Cho Hyun-ah, a former Korean Air vice president known for a "nut rage" incident in 2014, to one year in prison with a stay of execution for two years.

Lee, 69, was ordered to perform 160 hours of community service and her daughter for 120 hours as well as a fine of 20 million won ($17,240). 

The two were found guilty of taking advantage of their status as a spouse and child of Hanjin's late chairman and forcing Korean Air employees to engage in illegal activities. They were accused of hiring a total of 11 Filipino housemaids from 2013 by forging documents to pretend they were Korean Air employees.

Lawyers have called for mercy, saying Cho Hyun-ah, 44, has been in a difficult situation because of endless investigations into her family, a divorce suit with her husband and the unexpected death of her father in an American hospital on April 8.

In a separate case on June 13, Lee and Cho Hyun-ah were given suspended jail sentences on charges of bringing in various items, including luxury items, without paying customs.

Lee has been widely criticized as a typical example of "Gapjil" that means an abuse of power such as mistreatment, arrogant behavior, crude talk, character assassination, and insults. She allegedly hurled a pair of pruning shears at a security guard in his house for failing to take care of the house door properly, kicked a chauffeur for a mistake in the street, beat a gardener and slapped a construction worker.

Cho Hyun-ah[Yonhap Photo]

Cho Hyun-ah became enraged in December 2014 when a flight attendant served her some nuts in a bag, rather than on a plate, on board a flight that was forced back to the gate while taxiing to the runway. She was given a twelve-month prison sentence on conviction of violating aviation safety laws, but an appeals court handed down a suspended jail term in May 2015.

In March last year, Cho Hyun-ah came back to head Hanjin's hotel business unit, KAL Hotel Network, but she lost her title again after her younger sister, Cho Hyun-min, threw a glass cup and sprayed plum juice while chairing a business meeting with advertising agency officials as Korean Air's executive director.

Public fury fanned by additional disclosures about misconducts by the ruling family had led to multiple investigations into the Cho family. However, Cho Hyun-min, 35, came back on June 10 as Hanjin KAL's executive director and a vice president of Jungseok Enterprise, a real estate management arm of the group.
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