After Vietnam flight incident, Korean Air to get tougher on unruly passengers

By Reuters   December 27, 2016 | 10:20 am GMT+7

The carrier has been criticized by pop star Richard Marx, who helped subdue a violent passenger last week.

Korean Air said it will allow crew members to "readily use stun guns" to manage in-flight disturbances, after coming in for criticism from U.S. singer Richard Marx for its handling of an incident involving a violent passenger.

The South Korean carrier also said on Tuesday it will beef up security training of crew members.

Last week, Marx said on Facebook and Twitter that he helped initially subdue "a psycho passenger attacking crew members and other passengers," accusing crew members of being "ill-trained" and "ill-equipped" to handle the "chaotic and dangerous event."

Marx's wife, Daisy Fuentes, who was with the singer during the flight from Vietnam to South Korea, said on Instagram that crew members "didn't know how to use the taser & they didn't know how to secure the rope around him (he got loose from their rope restraints 3 times)."

Korean Air Lines said on Tuesday its crew members are "hesitant" to use taser guns, because they are permitted for use on only "grave" situations which jeopardize the life of a passenger or crew member or the safety of a flight.

"We have decided to improve our conditions and procedure on using Taser guns to cope with violent acts and disturbances on board in a fast and efficient manner," it said in a statement, without elaborating on how it would revise the rules.

However, a spokesman said the changes would ease conditions on using Taser guns so that crew can "readily use stun guns."

In South Korea, the number of unlawful acts committed aboard airplanes has more than tripled over the past five years, according to government data.

Video footage of the recent incident posted on YouTube showed a young man in a business class seat spat and swore at crew members trying to restrain him with a rope.

"Stop it, you sons of a bitch!" the passenger said in Korean, spitting at airline staff as they used cable ties and a rope to restrain him. "Do what you like!"

On Monday, the passenger appeared for questioning by police, wearing a mask, thick-rimmed glasses and a hat.

He apologized for his behavior but said he could not remember what had happened, according to video shown by broadcaster SBS.

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