Korean Law Demystified!

What is the Punishment (under Korean Law) for Violent/Unruly Behavior on Board an Aircraft?

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Under Article 23(1) of the Korean AVIATION SAFETY AND SECURITY ACT (항공보안법), the following are all crimes.

No passenger on board shall engage in any of the following acts to ensure the safe flight of an airplane and travel of passengers:

1. Making a noise, such as abusive language, loud singing;

2. Smoking (excluding smoking in a smoking zone);

3. Doing harm to another person after drinking alcohol or taking drugs;

4. Causing sexual humiliation to others;

5. Using electronic equipment, in violation of Article 73 of the Aviation Safety Act;

6. Attempting to enter the cockpit without the captain’s consent;

7. Obstructing the duties of the captain, etc. by deception or force.

– Translation mostly by KLRI (Korea Legislation Research Institute)

But only the last two (#6 and #7) are punishable by imprisonment. The rest are punishable only by a criminal fine of up to 5 or 10 mil won. (#1 and #3 are punishable by 10 mil max.)

DID YOU KNOW? You can also lose your job. In May, the Seoul Central District Court rejected a wrongful termination claim filed by a former POSCO executive. Back in 2013, he left the company after it was reported that he had used violence against a flight attendant (during flight). During a flight to L.A., he became furious that his ramen noodles was not made properly. (He first became angry when the seat next to his became occupied.)

UPDATE: On Dec. 27, 2016, it was reported that the police had decided to charge the suspect in the recent KAL480 case with Article 46 of the Aviation Safety and Security Act: Crime of Violence, etc. Impeding the Safe Flight of Aircraft. The max punishment is 5 years imprisonment. But it remains to be seen whether he will actually be found guilty of this specific charge.


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