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Construction of FPG's steel mill in Vietnam delayed by riots

TAIPEI--Construction of a steel mill owned by Taiwan's Formosa Plastics Group (FPG,台塑集團)in Vietnam will be delayed by one to two months due to the evacuation of Chinese workers in the wake of recent anti-Chinese riots in the Southeast Asian country, the company said Monday.

The steel mill in Ha Tinh Province is being constructed with the help of Chinese contractors.

Lin Hsin-yi (林信義), chairman of Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp., told reporters via videoconference that two Chinese workers were killed and at least 150 others injured on the premises during an attack by Vietnamese rioters last week.

Two other people were found dead in a dormitory of a Chinese contractor that was set on fire by the rioters, Lin said.

Property losses at the steel mill are estimated at US$3 million, including US$1.7 million in damage to air conditioners, stationery and computers, said Yang Chih-hung, president of the company.

Also attending the video conference, the deputy governor of Ha Tinh Province promised to increase the police presence to protect the safety of construction workers at the steel mill and to ensure an early resumption of construction at the site.

Anti-Chinese protests erupted in southern Vietnam last Tuesday over a Chinese oil-drilling venture in an area of the South China Sea that Hanoi regards as part of its exclusive economic zone.

China has dispatched three ships to evacuate 3,000 Chinese workers there, while Taiwan's two major air carriers have added additional scheduled and chartered flights to help evacuate Taiwanese businessmen and their dependents.

FPG to Demand Compensation

Lin Hsin-yi said Monday that his company will demand compensation and tax breaks from the Vietnamese government for losses caused during violent protests in the country last week.

Lin said that he will visit Vietnam later this week to meet with senior Vietnamese government officials.

He said he will ask them to ensure the safety of the company's investment and employees and demand compensation and tax breaks to help ease the burden of the losses incurred during the anti-China riots.

The steel mill in Ha Tinh province, still currently under construction, is being built by Chinese contractors who are using Chinese laborers.

Work on the plant is expected to be delayed by one to two months because the Chinese workers were evacuated following the violent protests, Lin said.

The riots left four people dead and at least 150 people injured at the steel factory, the company said.

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