Hyongtae Pae, 72,
was charged in federal court on Monday with interfering with the
crew of an aircraft in connection with the disturbance last
Saturday aboard United Airlines flight 903 bound for Tokyo's
Pae reportedly ignored crew instructions and, during meal
service, headed to the galley in the back of the plane to
"meditate and do yoga," according to an affidavit filed in
When his wife, who was traveling with him, tried to persuade him
to sit down, Pae reportedly grew agitated, pushing her and
Several U.S. Marines who were on the plane helped the crew
escort Pae to his seat, said Federal Bureau of Investigation
special agent Tom Simon, a spokesman for the agency's Honolulu
"While yoga and meditation can be beneficial activities, it
doesn't negate the need to obey flight crew instructions while
in the air," Simon said.
"The fact that the defendant's alleged misconduct caused the
flight to be turned around in the air gives you an idea of the
seriousness of this situation," Simon said.
Pae, a retired farmer, was headed home to South Korea, via
Japan, and was sleep-deprived after his first visit to Hawaii,
his attorney, J.T. Kim, told Reuters.
"He was trying to calm himself down," Kim said. "I guess that's
why he wanted to do some yoga, to calm himself down."
A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Pae released on bail of
$25,000, but told him to turn over his South Korean passport and
stay on the island of Oahu.
If convicted, Pae faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Sara
Catania and Sandra Maler)
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