HONOLULU — They say yoga is meant to calm the soul. If this is true, then a violent passenger aboard a United Airlines flight must be doing it wrong.
The pilot of a Japan-bound United Airlines aircraft was forced to fly back to Honolulu International Airport after passenger Hyongtae Pae became violent onboard. According to a criminal complaint filed by the FBI, Pae started yelling at crew members and shoving his wife.
Pae told the FBI he didn’t want to sit in his seat during the meal service, so he went to the back of the plane to do yoga and meditate. He became angry when his wife and flight attendants told him to return to his seat. “Pae pushed his wife because she was trying to make him stop,” the complaint said. “He felt that she was siding with the flight crew.”
He tried to head-butt and bite Marines (who were passengers on the flight) after they tried to force him back to his seat, Assistant U.S. Attorney Darren Ching said at Pae’s detention hearing Wednesday
According to the complaint, he threatened to kill passengers and was yelling that “there is no God.”
Pae went into a rage because he felt the flight crew was ordering him around, Ching added. Ching said Pae shouldn’t be released because he’s a danger to his wife, himself and others. Pae urinated on himself and was on suicide watch at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang ordered that Pae be released on $25,000 bond, but with certain conditions including not leaving the island of Oahu and undergoing a mental health evaluation.
Since the arrest, Pae’s wife has been staying at the Waikiki Gateway Hotel, defence attorney Jin Tae “J.T.” Kim told the judge, who asked whether Pae had financial resources to continue staying there after his release. Kim said he’s working with the consulate to transfer more money to Pae’s wife and find alternate, temporary housing.
Chang denied Kim’s request to allow Pae to return home to Korea, because that would involve getting on a plane again.
Outside of court, Kim said his client is a 72-year-old retired farmer who travelled from South Korea to celebrate his 40th wedding anniversary with a Hawaii vacation. It was the couple’s first trip to Hawaii.
Pae only recently took up yoga to help with anxiety, Kim said, adding that he was sleep-deprived during the vacation. Pae told the FBI he hadn’t been able to sleep in 11 days.