Scaffold collapse kills 2 Vietnamese at Taiwanese steel mill

By Nguyen Dung, Thanh Nien News

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One of the three workers injured following a scaffold collapse at the construction site of a future steel mill owned by Taiwanese Formosa Plastics Group in Ha Tinh Province July 27. Photo: Nguyen Dung


Two Vietnamese workers were killed and three others severely injured on Sunday after a scaffold collapsed at the construction site of a Taiwanese-invested steel project in the north-central province of Ha Tinh.
The accident happened at around 7:20 a.m. when a group of workers of the Vietnam Industrial Construction Company was working to build a water plant at the site of a future steel mill owned by Taiwanese Formosa Plastics Group in Vung Ang Economic Zone.
Bui Viet Thao, 23, and Nguyen Kim Tuan, 45, died on the spot.
Vu Van Lap and Mai Van Chau, both 24, and Pham Van Toan, 26, were severely injured.
They were rushed to hospital. Lap had brain injury while Chau and Toan had their thigh bones broken and sustained other injuries.
Authorities are investigating the cause of collapse.
The Formosa steel mill became infamous after a deadly brawl took place there, leaving three Chinese workers dead and 149 others, both Vietnamese and Chinese, injured, on May 14.
The violence erupted after construction workers at the plant peacefully protested China’s illegal positioning of an oil rig in Vietnamese waters in early May.
About 5,000 Vietnamese and 1,000 Chinese workers joined the brawl, after a rumor reportedly spread through the crowd that a Vietnamese worker had been beaten to death.
During the fight, three temporary dormitories were set on fire and looting took place.
Two months after the riot, Formosa submitted an “unprecedented” request to the government for permission to build its own special economic zone in Vung Ang.
In addition to asking for its exclusive economic zone under the direct control of the central government, Formosa also called for a raft of safeguard measures for the steel sector and waivers on import duties for equipment and raw materials.
On top of that, the Taiwanese firm asked that the government grant it land-use rights to a large area of the Vung Ang Economic Zone so it can build infrastructure and housing facilities to accommodate its 15,000-strong staff and their relatives, most of whom are Chinese.
The request was turned down as Vietnam’s current regulations do not allow such special treatment for foreign investors, according to the Vietnamese government.
The rejection came at a time when the government is making great strides in restoring foreign investor confidence after anti-China riots shut down three industrial parks in mid-May.
On July 3, Formosa received permission from the Ha Tinh provincial government to build a shrine, which it said would allow employees to pray to “the wandering souls whose graves were lost.”
But more than two weeks later, Communist Party officials in the province ordered the management board of the Vung Ang Economic Zone to halt the construction of the shrine following public outcry over the provincial government’s acceptance of Formosa's request.

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