The U.S. has the Kochs and the Waltons, who we think of as the evillest people in the world, and there may be some truth to that, but other countries have their arrogant oligarchs as well.
Meet the Cho’s. I’d never heard of them before, either, until macadamiagate. But that’s my whole point. There is probably a family or two like this in most countries. People who are wealthy enough to think the laws don’t apply to them because, in fact, they don’t.
The family history includes the usual stuff, some tax evasion, a road rage thing, but it was the macadamia nut incident that brought them into the public eye, internationally. A mosquito can kill an elephant. What happened is that Cho Hyun-ah, also known as Heather Cho, was sitting in first class (of course) on a flight from New York to Seoul. As the flight was waiting to take off, a steward brought her a bag of macadamia nuts.
She got pissed off and irate and freaked out a bit, because apparently he was supposed to put the nuts on a plate. They had to bring the plane back to the gate, and the steward was sacked. In one sense, she was justified in pointing it out because she is (or actually was – at least in South Korea, actions still have consequences) the director of customer service for the airline, and a vice president, which is not too surprising, in view of the fact that her father owns the company.
But, as she’s director of customer service, you’d think she’s be a little more able to handle a situation like that without major consequences. She could have called the steward back over and said: Hi, you might not know me but I’m Cho Hyun-ah and I’m your boss. I’d like to remind you that in first class you’re supposed to serve macadamia nuts on a plate. Don’t let it happen again.” And the problem would have been solved.
The difference between South Korea and the U.S. is that the incident is being investigated and Cho could be charged with disturbing the peace, interfering with a flight crew, some stuff like that. Unlike all the police officers who’ve actually been filmed killing people.