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THE INVESTOR
May 27, 2018
Big Reunion

Industrials

How Korean Air's Cho family smuggled their stuff: sources

  • PUBLISHED :April 20, 2018 - 11:36
  • UPDATED :April 21, 2018 - 22:42
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[THE INVESTOR] As Korean Air heiress Cho Hyun-min is facing public backlash for the so-called “water rage” incident, fresh allegations cropped up on April 20 that the family used to frequently smuggle personal goods into Korea.

According to sources, the family members abused their status as an airliner operator to smuggle in all kinds of goods including clothes in bulk and furniture. They were brought in under the code name “KIP,” which is short for Korean Air VIP.

“The goods were brought in through commercial flights that served as their personal shopping lines,” said a Korean Air employee who requested anonymity. 
 



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He added that about five to six people on the luggage team worked as constant caretakers of the goods. 

“There was a flight from New York that was the designated carrier for this kind of thing,” said the employee. “There were all sorts of stuff, from even food, which is illegal.”

The Cho family allegedly did not pay custom duty for these shipments, as most of the time they were disguised as company goods or even aircraft parts. “Vans would drive up as soon as the planes landed to load them,” the employee said.

The Korea Customs Service has launched an investigation into these allegations and is checking their credit card logs.

A company spokesperson refused to comment, only saying that all Korean Air executives go by the code name “KIP.”

Industry watchers noted that while cabin crew members are sometimes caught trying to smuggle goods, it was rare for airline operators to do so.

By Bryan Hong (bhong@heraldcorp.com)

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