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FROTH AND BUBBLE
One dead, seven injured by contaminated China parcels
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Dec 21, 2013


Taiwan's ASE ordered to shut down factory over pollution
Taipei (AFP) Dec 20, 2013 - Taiwanese authorities on Friday ordered leading chip company Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc. (ASE) to shut down a factory in southern Taiwan for "intentionally" discharging toxic wastewater into a river.

ASE, a chip packaging and testing service provider, was told to suspend operations of its K7 plant in Kaohsiung city after it was found to have discharged industrial wastewater containing the heavy metal nickel and other toxic substances into a nearby river, officials at the city's environmental bureau said.

"The company was aware that the wastewater didn't meet the standards but didn't notify the bureau ... and still intentionally discharged (the wastewater) into the river. This is a serious violation," Chen Chin-der, chief of the Kaohsiung city environmental protection bureau, said.

"The plant submitted false information to the bureau to hide its actions. It discharged wastewater containing heavy metal that is a health hazard and affected the rice paddies in the downstream."

The order is indefinite until ASE can propose "solid improvement plans" to solve the water pollution problems before reopening, Chen added.

The bureau had slapped a fine of Tw$600,000 ($20,000) on ASE earlier this month but observers have criticised the punishment as too light for a company which reported a net profit of Tw$16 billion last year.

ASE has said that the discharge was an unintentional accident caused by an erroneous opening of a valve and vowed to fix the problems.

However the bureau said ASE has been repeatedly cited for water pollution violations since 2011 but has yet to resolve the problems.

A man was killed and seven others were injured in China after receiving parcels from a delivery company that had become contaminated with toxic chemicals, it was reported Saturday.

The unnamed man, from China's eastern Shandong province, died after taking delivery of a box of shoes in late November which were tainted with methyl fluoroacetate, a highly toxic chemical, the Xinhua news agency reported citing the local post bureau.

The bureau said four parcels delivered by Shanghai YTO Express, a private delivery company, were found to be contaminated by the chemicals, sickening five delivery workers and two recipients. The report did not state the condition of the injured.

Xinhua said YTO had apologised for the accident and quoted a spokesman saying that the contamination occurred after a package containing the toxic chemical leaked during transport.

The company said the package was sent by a chemical plant in central China's Hubei province who claimed it was "innoxious".

The spokesman was quoted as saying the delivery company staff had performed routine checks "according to company rules" and that it would cooperate with an ongoing police investigation.

Chinese citizens are often angered by their country's poor safety record amid regular industrial accidents, health scares and contaminations.

Chinese parents became particularly distrustful of domestic milk brands after a huge 2008 scandal involving formula tainted with melamine that killed six children and sickened 300,000 others.

Their concern triggered a rush on milk powder, which saw shelves emptied around the world -- Hong Kong banned travellers taking out more than 1.8 kilogrammes of formula from March 1 this year.

The safety of medicines is another key area where Chinese citizens have concerns.

Recent scandals include drug capsules made from toxic raw material derived from scrap leather and the busting of a ring peddling counterfeit tablets.

In 2008 a blood thinner called heparin, produced in China, was found to be contaminated and linked to dozens of deaths.

Xinhua said the country's private delivery network was "one of China's fastest growing industries" but added experts said the sector was beset with problems like "poor service and lax supervision".

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