Police arrest two South Koreans over deadly scaffolding collapse in Vietnam

May 20, 2015 | 16:30
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Police in central Vietnam on Tuesday detained two South Koreans who hold managerial positions at a firm under Samsung Group over a scaffolding collapse that killed 13 Vietnamese workers and injured 29 others in March.

The two, Lee Jae Myeong, 62, and Kim Jong Wook, 43, have been charged with “breaching regulations on labor safety,” said police in Ha Tinh Province.

The charge carries a penalty of up to 12 years in prison, pursuant to Article 227 of the Vietnamese Penal Code.

Kim and Lee are both from Samsung C&T Vietnam, a company under South Korea's Samsung Group.

The deadly accident occurred at 8:00 am on March 25 at the construction site of a Taiwanese-invested steel-mill complex – for which Samsung C&T Vietnam is the contractor – in the Formosa Industrial Park, which is located in Vung Ang Economic Zone in Ha Tinh.

Kim is the director of the construction site while Lee is the manager of workers there.

After finding signs of danger in the scaffolding system on March 25, Kim let workers continue working at the site.

Later, when the scaffolding strongly shook and made loud noises, many workers ran away from the site and Lee arrived to examine the scaffolding.

After the examination, Lee did not order a halt but requested that the employees keep working.

Nguyen Van Hanh, 24, a worker who was injured in the collapse, recounted, “I was working at the site then and felt the scaffold under my feet shake and sway twice.

“Someone was shouting to alert us that the scaffold was about to collapse and we all fled the scene.”

Ten minutes later, a South Korean manager demanded that the workers return and reassured them that it was safe, Hanh said.

The workers followed suit and several minutes later, the entire scaffolding weighing hundreds of metric tons fell down with a crash, he added.

The accident killed 13 Vietnamese workers and injured 29 others, according to official statistics.


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