comscore Judge OKs Korea return for yogi flight disrupter | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News

Judge OKs Korea return for yogi flight disrupter

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Hyongtae Pae stands outside the federal courthouse in Honolulu on Thursday after pleading guilty to interfering with a flight crew.

A tourist whose desire to do yoga on a plane led to his arrest is being allowed to leave Hawaii and return home to South Korea.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang previously allowed Hyongtae Pae to be released on bond but prevented him from leaving the state because of concerns about him being on a plane again.

On Monday, Chang made the modification after Pae’s defense attorney asked that Pae return to the Honolulu Federal Detention Center. Jin Tae “JT” Kim said his client can’t afford to keep staying in a bed-and-breakfast or to pay to see a doctor for more medication.

Pae and his wife were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary with a Hawaii vacation, and the couple was headed home when he was arrested.

According to court records, Pae didn’t want to sit in his seat during the meal service on last month’s flight from Honolulu to Tokyo, so he went to the back of the plane to do yoga and meditate. Authorities say he refused to return to his seat, threatened crew members and passengers, and shoved his wife. The pilot turned the plane around and returned to Honolulu. Pae told authorities after his arrest that he hadn’t slept in 11 days.

He pleaded guilty last week to interfering with a flight crew. As part of a plea agreement, he’s expected to be sentenced to time served, which was about 12 days in jail, and to pay about $43,600 restitution to United Airlines.

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  • Thank goodness Mr. Pae’s apparent mental health crisis has stabilized. What an ordeal.

    His case illustrates the increased risk of manic episodes in our tourist population. Some folks take impulsive last minute trips to Hawaii as a result of elevated mood, and more commonly others experience mood episodes as a result to time zone changes and lack of sleep, as was reported earlier in his case. Add to this the stress of being away from home in a foreign culture and the excitement and tropical stimulation Hawaii provides, and it is easy to understand why Mr. Pae’s case is not unique.

    All the more reason Hawaii needs solid, well-trained mental health professionals. Good luck Mr. Pae.

    • The mental health story is a lie. And, what you say is a bunch of garbage. Of all the tourists that come to Hawaii, what this Mr. Pae did is a rarity.

  • The way he pushed his wife around in public is an indication she has issues with him that are very sad. Wonder if their culture condones such behavior?

  • Dare I say, Good Riddance? It seems his wife has a problem of which she would either seek help or flee from this union! The latter is safer and healthier for her!

  • It’s funny that the headline says this guy was a Yogi, which is a yoga master. If he really was a yogi, then he wouldn’t have lost his head like that when they told him to sit down and behave.

      • What does your first sentence mean? Actually, what do both sentences mean? A shyster? Sorry, are you saying yogis are like celebrities or powerful folks that get special treatment?

  • Wait a Minute! Did he pay United Airlines the $43,600 restitution? Once he leaves Hawaii, I seriously doubt United can get their money. What is wrong with our stu*pid judges?

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