Korean Air family suspected of illegally hiring Filipino housekeepers

By Yonhap
  • Published : May 16, 2018 - 15:12
  • Updated : May 16, 2018 - 15:12

The owner family of Korean Air Lines Co. is suspected of having illegally hired more than 10 Philippine housekeepers, Seoul's immigration office said Wednesday.

The Seoul office of the Korea Immigration Service said they obtained statements backing such suspicions from Korean Air officials in the human resources division during an interrogation earlier in the day.

The questioning focused on verifying how the housekeepers came into the country, how they were paid by the Cho family and who actually hired them, the office said.

Korean Air employees wearing Guy Fawkes masks and uniforms stage a rally in Seoul on May 4, 2018, in protest of the abusing and mistreatment of the founding Cho family of Hanjin Group, its parent firm. (Yonhap)

The immigration office, part of the Ministry of Justice, has been investigating allegations that the wife of Chairman Cho Yang-ho has unlawfully recruited maids from the Southeast Asian country for many years. They mostly worked for Lee Myung-hee -- Cho's wife -- and Cho Hyun-ah -- their eldest daughter and former Korean Air vice president.

The authorities raided the Korean Air headquarters in western Seoul last week, and based on the confiscated evidence, suspect the illicit hiring of 10-20 Filipino housekeepers.

A foreigner must have an F-4 or F-6 visa in order to work as a housekeeper in Korea. Those alleged to have been hired by Lee came to Korea on a D-4, which is for persons subject to a traineeship.

The immigration office said it is considering requesting summons through diplomatic and international law enforcement channels. Most of the housekeepers in question are known to have returned home after the probe began.

The founding family of the airline-to-hotel conglomerate is also under investigation over a series of allegations ranging from assault and abuse of power at the workplace to suspected smuggling of luxury goods. (Yonhap)