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Lee, Cho get suspended jail terms

It seems that not a single day goes by without Hanjin Group family members grabbing headlines. This time around, its about the mother and sister of Hanjin Chairman Cho Won-tae.

The two have been on trial for charges of having smuggled luxury goods through airplanes of Korean Air, the flagship subsidiary of the group.

On June 13, the Incheon District Court sentenced Lee Myung-hee, Chairman Cho’s mother, to six months in prison, which was suspended for one year, along with $600 in fine.

Her daughter Cho Hyun-ah, otherwise known as Heather, received a suspended sentence of eight months with $4,000 in fine.

The two are suspected of having smuggled goods so many times over the past several years – 46 times for Lee and 202 times for Cho. Under Korean law, smugglers are subject to a maximum of five years in prison.

The court said that the number of offenses committed is not small but suspended the terms as most of the smuggled items were daily goods.

It is not the first time for Cho, formerly vice president of Korean Air, to face criminal charges.

In 2014, she ordered a Korean Air plane to return to the gate before takeoff so that the flight was delayed around 20 minutes, taking issue with the way peanuts were served.

She also had a heated confrontation with the cabin crew chief. Back then, she ordered him off the aircraft and even physically assaulted him.

Because of the incident called “nutgate,” she ended up on the wrong side of bars for five months as she was found guilty in the Korean court of obstructing aviation.

The news on Lee and Cho came on the heels of the reports that Cho Hyun-min, youngest sister of Chairman Cho, returned to management positions. She is also known as Emily.

Early last year, she resigned from all posts after infuriating the country by throwing a drink at an employee during a meeting. About 14 months after the “watergate,” she decided to come back.

But her return met criticisms from Hanjin unionists and many experts.

 

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