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MP probes British tech ‘sweat shop’ death

No inquest for Chinese immigrant

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A north-eastern MP has taken up the case of a Chinese immigrant who died in a UK component factory two years ago from apparent exhaustion.

The Guardian reports that Zhang Guo Hua, 40, from Heilongjiang in north-eastern China, died of a brain haemorrhage in October 2001 shortly after working a 24 hour continuous shift in the Hartlepool factory of Woo One UK. Korean-owned Woo One makes computer casings along with moulded plastics that are used in the manufacture of microwave ovens from Samsung. The factory, which opened in 1996, employ 400, according to Hartlepool Today.

Local MP, and former cabinet minister, Peter Mandelson has written to Samsung about the case.

"I have written to Samsung about the allegations made against Woo One in this tragic case," Mandelson said.

"I urge anybody who has information about firms breaking the law to contact the authorities to put an end to poverty pay and exploitation," he added.

Hua was one of a large number of illegal Chinese immigrants toiling under sweat shop conditions and living in Dickensian conditions with accommodation housing up to 30 other people, today's Guardian reports.

The paper adds that because Hua had no papers and spoke no English, his death went unnoticed and there was no inquest. The tragic circumstances of Hua's death only came to light following an investigation by the paper, published earlier this week. ®

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