Foreign firms disappear from Vietnam, leaving behind giant debts

TN News

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Malaysian glove producer APL International has abandoned its factory in Dong Nai Province.

Many foreign businesses have disappeared from Vietnam's southern industrial centers, leaving a wake of unpaid taxes and workers' salaries, as well as debts to their Vietnamese partners.

A Tuoi Tre report on Thursday said the management board of industrial zones in Dong Nai Province has revoked the licenses of 17 foreign companies after their owners left the country without notice.

The factory once used by APL International, a Malaysian producer of rubber latex gloves, is now full of dust which covers the few remaining machines.

A manager at the Go Dau Industrial Zone told Tuoi Tre the company had moved their machines away but when he questioned it, said they were being repaired.

"I had noticed business slow down at the company, then the Malaysian owner left and other managers did also.

"When the operations completely shut down and the workers cried for help, they were long gone," the manager said.

The owner of Canadian K. Y. Seritech has also left Vietnam and could not be reached.

Local authorities have auctioned off a few machines left behind by the electronics component maker to partially compensate the company's unpaid workers and state tax collectors with more than VND600 million (US$28,800).

However, each worker only received a few hundred thousand dong, as opposed to the tens of millions they are owed.

In Ho Chi Minh City, 128 processing businesses have disappeared without paying VND400 billion ($19.2 million) in taxes, according to the city Customs Department.

Topping the list are two South Korean garment and textile firms. Silver Star owes over VND29.6 billion ($1.42 million) in unpaid taxes and Hae Kwang Vina owes VND23 billion in unpaid taxes and salaries for over 200 workers.

City customs officials only found out the firms had left Vietnam when trying to confirm their addresses recently, at which point, most of the firms' machines and equipment had already been sold or sent elsewhere.

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