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ASE should prepare for plant suspension: Kaohsiung official
Central News Agency
2013-12-12 10:35 PM
Kaohsiung, Dec. 12 (CNA) The world's largest integrated circuit (IC) packaging and testing services provider -- Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc. (ASE) -- should prepare to shut down one of its plants in Kaohsiung for dumping waste water, an official said Thursday. The violation found at ASE's K7 plant in the southern city is serious enough for the local government to order the suspension of operations there, said Chen Chin-der, director of Kaohsiung's Environmental Protection Bureau. Chen also said ASE submitted falsified waste water data, since they are inconsistent with the bureau's test results. He added that an unlicensed waste facility found at ASE's nearby K11 plant showed that the company may have intentionally dumped toxic waste water. Meanwhile, the Kaohsiung City Marine Bureau said Thursday that it has collected samples to check if the seawater near the estuary of the Houjing Creek and fish farms in the area are polluted. ASE was fined NT$600,000 (US$20,236.72) Monday after the bureau found pollution in the creek, which was caused by unprocessed waste water. The water, which contained nickel and was acidic, came from the K7 plant in the company's Kaohsiung complex. The bureau also ordered the plant to suspend operations, but the company was given a 10-day period mandated by the Water Pollution Control Act to explain and defend itself before the final decision is made. ASE had said that it thought the waste water had been treated before allowing it to flow out through its normal discharge pipes, but that its equipment had malfunctioned, which led to the waste water being discharged without first being treated. The company said it will continue negotiating and working with the bureau to avoid being forced to suspend operations. The company on Thursday declined to comment on local media reports that it was planning for a plant suspension, noting that all operations at its Kaohsiung complex are running as normal. Meanwhile, Environmental Protection Minister Stephen Shen told reporters in the Legislature that the secret and unlicensed pipes found at the complex indicated that it was unlikely the pollution was an accident. The minister also responded to questions about the NT$600,000 fine on the company being too small, noting that the government can impose further fines on the company for the illegal gains it makes, under the Administrative Penalty Act. Environmental Protection Agency officials arrived in Kaohsiung on Thursday to assist the local government in calculating the illegal gains. In addition to fines, the company could be held criminally responsible. Kaohsiung District Prosecutors' Office interviewed a total of 13 ASE officials and collected samples of water and mud from Houjing Creek Thursday as part of its investigations. The Kaohsiung complex accounts for 28 percent of ASE's total sales, and the K7 plant is responsible for more than 30 percent of the Kaohsiung site's revenue, analysts said. ICs are used to make a wide variety of electronic products, including laptops and smartphones. (By Chen Ja-fo, Chang Che-fon, Jalen Chung, Zoe Wei and Kay Liu)
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