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(LEAD) Samsung Electronics apologizes for hydrofluoric acid leakage
SEOUL, March 3 (Yonhap) -- A senior official at Samsung Electronics Co. apologized on Sunday for problems caused by the hydrofluoric acid leakage at the company's chip plant in late January, vowing to prevent the recurrence of similar accidents.

   Hydrofluoric acid, a colorless acute poison that can damage the lungs and bones and even affect the nervous system, leaked from Samsung Electronics' semiconductor plant in Hwaseong, 60 kilometers south of Seoul, on Jan. 28, killing one worker and injuring four others.

   Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun said in a statement that as a token of apology, his company plans to revoke its application to have its Hwaseong plants certified as "green" operations for another five years.

   "We plan to overhaul the system in a bid to better make environmentally-friendly workplaces," Kwon said, adding that the company will make efforts to prevent the recurrence of similar accidents.

   Samsung's plants in Hwaseong first won the green designation in late 1998, avoiding the government's regular checks on the impact of their operations on the environment. The government is reviewing Samsung's application for the re-designation submitted in late August.

   A total of seven people, including three officials of Samsung Electronics, have been booked for investigation on charges of negligence that led to the fatal hydrofluoric acid gas leak.

   sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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