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Korean man ordered to pay $172,000 fine for drunken rampage on Hawaiian Airlines flight

A South Korean man went on a drunken rampage on a plane and now he has to suffer the consequences. A US court sentenced Kyong Chol Kim to six months in jail and ordered him to pay $172,000 to Hawaiian Airlines on Wednesday for disrupting a flight out of Honolulu, reports 9 News. His online antics caused the plane to return to Oahu four hours into the flight.

Kyong Chol Kim arrived in Hawaii on February 25 from South Korea but didn’t have the proper documents. He was refused entry by the US Customs and Border Patrol. They detained the 48-year-old man at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center until his flight back to Korea. On February 27, officials escorted Kim to a Hawaiian Airlines plane flying to Incheon. Kim somehow got a hold of a bottle of duty-free Ballantine whiskey.

On Hawaiian Airlines flight 459, witnesses said he downed the bottle before beverage services began. That’s when the trouble started on the flight carrying 263 passengers. First, Kim started to bother a young child sitting next to him despite the kid’s mother asking Kim to leave her kid alone. Second, when he was confronted by a flight attendant about his behavior, he lunged towards her allegedly saying he “was going to get her” and that “he’s a criminal and could cause trouble.” Then he stepped on the child’s shoulder to jump at a cabin crew member so that he can punch her, reports Fox.

US service members and passengers restrained the “erratic and belligerent man” as he yelled at the top of his lungs in Korean and English. The pilot was forced to turn the plane around as Kim remained fighting in handcuffs.

“Hawaiian Airlines flight HA459 departed Honolulu for Incheon International Airport yesterday at 1 p.m. local time [6 pm EST] carrying 263 passengers and 13 crew,” Hawaiian Airlines told Fox news in a statement. “Approximately four hours into the flight, the Captain made the decision to return to Honolulu due to an unruly passenger. Passengers briefly deplaned and HA459 departed HNL at 10:35 p.m. and arrived at ICN at 4:28 a.m. local time today [Thursday]. We apologize to our guests for the inconvenience.”

When the plane landed in Oahu, FBI agents arrested Kyong Chol Kim.

During his trial, it was revealed that he could face up to 20 years in prison. But it was recommended that his time served in jail up to the trial’s end in July would be enough time. However, the U.S District Judge Derrick K. Watson said that he was “really sick and tired of” hearing of cases like Kim, reports the Daily Mail. Additionally, it was discovered that Kim had past criminal offenses including possession of a stolen vehicle and sexual assault. So he hit Kim with six months in jail and ordered him to pay Hawaiian Airlines $172,000 for the trouble he caused.

Kim apologized via a translator and blamed the alcohol. He said that he was exhausted and didn’t expect the alcohol to have that much of an effect on him. Furthermore, he said that he has every plan to pay for the fine. He owns a motel in Seoul which might cover the fine. But Judge Watson was doubtful as he expressed that the chances of the airline recouping the money was slim.

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