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Police refute Samsung's claim that fatal gas leak was contained

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Samsung logo SSD 830 series (1020)
Samsung logo SSD 830 series (1020)

Korean police have today accused Samsung of lying about the containment of a fatal gas leak at one of the manufacturer's semiconductor plants. At the time of the incident, the company told press that "the possibility of a leak beyond [Samsung property] is zero," but new evidence shows that this may not be the case. The police cite CCTV footage from within the plant's control room that shows maintenance workers discharging some of the toxic hydrofluoric acid through a ventilation system outside the factory walls. Environmental groups have claimed that levels of the acid have been higher than normal up to two kilometers away from the plant, although neither the police nor Samsung have confirmed those claims.

Samsung could be facing another fine

It's not clear whether Samsung has broken any laws here. There are provisions in place that allow for certain amounts of toxic material to be released in an emergency situation, and a build-up of deadly gas may well constitute an emergency. Samsung's statement that a leak beyond its property did not happen looks to be disingenuous at best, though, and if it can be proved it lied about the risks to nearby residents, it could be facing another fine. The manufacturer was fined around $1,000 two weeks ago after it failed to report the leak for over 12 hours.