2 Koreans, 2 Vietnamese jailed over scaffolding collapse that killed 13

By Nguyen Dung, TN News

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2 South Koreans and 2 Vietnamese stand trial in the central province of Ha Tinh on Monday. Photos: Nguyen Dung 2 South Koreans and 2 Vietnamese stand trial in the central province of Ha Tinh on Monday. Photos: Nguyen Dung


A court in the central province of Ha Tinh sent two South Korean men and two Vietnamese to jail for between 30-42 months for a scaffolding collapse that left 13 dead and 29 others injured early this year.
All the defendants were convicted of "violating labor safety rules" at the construction site of Taiwanese-invested steel mill complex Formosa on March 25.
Kim Jong Wook, 43, and Lee Jae Myeong, 62, who were in charge of supervising the construction of a breakwater and managing 43 workers on site that day, were found guilty of failing to take action and evacuate workers when the scaffolding structure showed signs of collapsing.
Kim received a jail term of three and half years, while Lee was sentenced to three years.
Both were then employees of Samsung C&T, a construction subsidiary of the electronics giant and a contractor for the US$10-billion project of Formosa Plastics Group in Vung Ang Economic Zone.
Two other defendants Nguyen Thai Duc, 30, and Nguyen Anh Tuan, 27, were in charge of controlling the scaffolding's lifting hydraulic system which was used to adjust the height of a work platform.
They failed to inform their Korean managers when they discovered that part of the system broke down, which later caused the whole structure collapse, according to the hearing.
Tuan and Duc were jailed for three years and 30 months, respectively.
 A file photo of the scaffolding collapse at a construction site at Vung Ang Economic Zone, Ha TInh Province
According to the indictment, when the workers were working on the platform about 20 meters above the ground, they heard an explosion noise and the structure shook violently. Many of them scrambled to get away.
Tuan and Duc then discovered two cylinders of the lifting system breaking down. But they did not inform their Korean managers, and instead attempted to fix the problem.
When the workers returned to work about 10 minutes later, the scaffolding shook again, sending them running away.
Again, Tuan and Duc discovered another cylinders breaking down and attempted to fix them without reporting the issue to the managers.
Kim and Lee then climbed onto the scaffolding to check if there was any problem, but did not carry out a proper inspection. They ordered the workers to come back to work, according to prosecutors.
With 13 workers killed and another 29 injured, the incident is the second deadliest in Vietnam’s construction history
A collapse of two spans of a bridge being built in the Mekong Delta in 2007 killed 55 workers and injured 80 others. The Can Tho Bridge between Can Tho city and Vinh Long Province was completed in 2010.

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