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Cablegate: Former Daewoosa Employees: Information Sharing with Vietnamese Officials

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

190942Z Apr 01

2001HANOI00934 - UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ9556

PAGE 01 HANOI 00934 01 OF 02 190957Z
ACTION DRL-02

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 ACQ-00 CA-02 CIAE-00 DODE-00
SRPP-00 DS-00 EAP-00 FBIE-00 UTED-00 VC-00 TEDE-00
INR-00 INSE-00 IO-00 LAB-01 L-00 VCE-00 NSAE-00
OIC-02 SS-00 TEST-00 DSCC-00 PRM-01 NFAT-00 SAS-00
/008W
------------------E149AB 190957Z /38
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2607
INFO DEPTLABOR WASHDC
USINS WASHDC
DOJ WASHDC
AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 000934

SIPDIS

STATE FOR P, EAP, DRL, CA, L/EAP, L/CA, L/LEI, EAP/BCLTV
USDOL FOR ILAB/ JPERLMUTTER, RSHEPARD
USINS FOR HEADQUARTERS
JUSTICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS/CRIMINAL DIVISONS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB PREL PHUM PREF VM LABOR
SUBJECT: FORMER DAEWOOSA EMPLOYEES: INFORMATION SHARING WITH VIETNAMESE OFFICIALS


UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HANOI 00934 01 OF 02 190957Z
REF: A) HANOI 834 B) HANOI 908 C) STATE 61515

1. (U) SUMMARY: EMBASSY OFFICERS MET WITH LABOR MINISTRY
OFFICIALS ON APRIL 18 TO SHARE INFORMATION REGARDING THE
DAEWOOSA CASE AND THOSE FORMER DAEWOOSA EMPLOYEES CURRENTLY
IN THE U.S. THESE OFFICIALS APPRECIATED THE INFORMATION AS
WELL AS USG EFFORTS TO BRING TO JUSTICE THOSE RESPONSIBLE
FOR THE ALLEGED ABUSES OF THE VIETNAMESE WORKERS AT
DAEWOOSA. BUT THEY ALSO COMMUNICATED THEIR CONCERN FOR THE
WORKERS AND REGRETTED THAT THE USG HAD NOT SHARED THIS
INFORMATION IN A MORE TIMELY MANNER. EMBOFFS WERE ALSO TOLD
THAT THOSE WORKERS WHO RETURNED TO VIETNAM HAVE RECEIVED
RELIEF FROM THE FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS TO THE LABOR EXPORT
COMPANIES CONTAINED IN THEIR CONTRACTS TO WORK AT DAEWOOSA.
END SUMMARY.

MEETING WITH LABOR OFFICIALS
----------------------------

2. (SBU) FOLLOWING UP A MEETING WITH THE MFA (REF A)
REGARDING THE VIETNAMESE FORMER EMPLOYEES OF THE AMERICAN
SAMOA-BASED DAEWOOSA, ON APRIL 18, THE EMBASSY ORALLY
DELIVERED THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN REF C TO DR. TRAN VAN
HANG, THE DIRECTOR OF THE DEPARTMENT FOR ADMINISTRATION OF
FOREIGN-EMPLOYED LABOR FORCE AT THE MINISTRY OF LABOR,
INVALIDS AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS (MOLISA).

3. (SBU) MR. HANG'S RESPONSE WAS MEASURED BUT APPRECIATIVE
IN TONE. HE WAS PLEASED TO RECEIVE THE INFORMATION WHICH HE
WOULD PASS TO THE WORKERS' FAMILIES, 40 OF WHOM HE SAID HAD
VISITED HIM TWO DAYS PREVIOUSLY SEEKING INFORMATION ABOUT
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HANOI 00934 01 OF 02 190957Z
THE WELFARE AND WHEREABOUTS OF THE WORKERS. HE CONVEYED THE
GVN'S SUPPORT FOR USG PROSECUTION OF DAEWOOSA OWNER KIL SOO
LEE. AND HE WAS PLEASED THAT THE DOJ WOULD ASSIST THOSE
WORKERS WHO CHOSE TO DO SO TO CONTACT GVN AUTHORITIES IN THE
U.S. AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO CONTACT THEIR FAMILIES.

4. (SBU) BUT, HE EXPRESSED CONCERN FOR THE SAFETY AND
WELFARE OF THE WORKERS. HE REGRETTED THAT THE USG HAD NOT
INFORMED HIS GOVERNMENT PRIOR TO MOVING THE WORKERS FROM
AMERICAN SAMOA. IN HANG'S OPINION THE CASE WOULD NOT NOW BE
"SO COMPLICATED" IF THE TWO SIDES HAD SHARED INFORMATION AND
COORDINATED FROM THE BEGINNING. LIKE MFA OFFICIALS, HE
CLAIMED THAT "BAD PEOPLE" HAD MET WITH WORKERS IN AMERICAN
SAMOA AND HAD CONVINCED THEM TO GO TO THE UNITED STATES
INSTEAD OF RETURNING TO VIETNAM BY PROMISING THAT THEY AND
THEIR FAMILIES WOULD BE GET "T-VISAS." (HE SAID HE HAD
COPIES OF PAMPHLETS PROVIDED TO THE WORKERS MAKING SUCH
CLAIMS AND PROMISED TO PROVIDE COPIES TO THE EMBASSY.)

5. (SBU) HANG DID NOT REPEAT THE MFA'S REQUEST (SEE REFS A
AND B) FOR THE NAMES, ADDRESSES AND OTHER DETAILS ABOUT THE
WORKERS IN THE U.S. RATHER, HE CONFIDENTLY STATED THAT OF
THE 252 VIETNAMESE WORKERS AT DAEWOOSA, 78 HAVE RETURNED TO
DATE AND 174 WENT TO HAWAII WITH NONE REMAINING IN AMERICAN
SAMOA. HE SAID HE WAS SURE OF THIS BECAUSE A MOLISA
INTERPRETER, WHO WAS IN POSSESSION OF THE AIR TICKETS THE
GVN HAD PURCHASED TO BRING ALL THE WORKERS HOME, HAD
REMAINED IN AMERICAN SAMOA UNTIL ALL THE VIETNAMESE WORKERS
HAD DEPARTED FOR ONE DESTINATION OR THE OTHER. (COMMENT:
THIS GAVE US THE IMPRESSION THAT HE HAS A FAIRLY GOOD IDEA
OF THE IDENTITIES OF THE WORKERS WHO WENT TO THE U.S. END
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HANOI 00934 01 OF 02 190957Z
COMMENT.)

6. (SBU) HOWEVER, HANG REQUESTED THAT, AFTER THE TRIAL, USG
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR FACILITATING AND FINANCING THE
WORKERS' RETURN TO VIETNAM. THE GVN, HE NOTED, RECOGNIZED
THAT IT WAS POSSIBLE THAT SOME WORKERS WOULD REMAIN IN THE
U.S. IN SUCH CASES, HE REQUESTED THAT THE U.S. SHARE WITH
THE GVN THE GROUNDS FOR APPROVAL FOR THE CHANGE IN THEIR
STATUS.

DOJ LETTER
----------
7. (U) EMBASSY APPRECIATES HAVING RECEIVED THE JUSTICE
DEPARTMENT'S LETTER TO THE FORMER DAEWOOSA EMPLOYEES. WE
FAXED IN APRIL 19 TO THE AMERICAS DEPARTMENT AT THE MFA AND
THE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS DEPARTMENT AT MOLISA. WE ARE
SURE THAT THESE AGENCIES WILL APPRECIATE ANY ADDITIONAL
INFORMATION WASHINGTON AGENCIES CAN PROVIDE REGARDING THE
WORKERS AND THEIR SITUATION IN THE U.S.

ASSISTANCE FOR WORKERS WHO RETURNED
-----------------------------------


UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HANOI 00934 02 OF 02 190957Z
8. (U) EMBOFFS TOOK THIS OPPORTUNITY TO INQUIRE ABOUT THOSE
DAEWOOSA EMPLOYEES THAT HAD ALREADY RETURNED TO VIETNAM.
HANG SAID THAT MOLISA WAS WORKING WITH THE VIETNAMESE
EMBASSY IN SEOUL TO EXPLORE MEANS OF SECURING PAYMENT OF
BACK WAGES FROM DAEWOOSA'S SOUTH KOREAN-BASED PARENT
COMPANY.

8. (U) IN ADDITION, VARIOUS FEES AND PENALTIES FOR WHICH
THE WORKERS' WERE POTENTIALLY LIABLE WERE BEING WAIVED
AND/OR REPAID. THESE INCLUDED JOB PLACEMENT FEES, DEPOSITS
AND CONTRACT PERFORMANCE PENALTIES. MOST OF THE WORKERS'
HAD BEEN PAYING THE JOB PLACEMENT FEES IN INSTALLMENTS, BUT
A FEW PAID SOME OR ALL OF IT IN ADVANCE. THESE PAYMENTS ARE
TO BE SUSPENDED AND/OR REFUNDED, IF PAID IN ADVANCE, FOR
THOSE PERIODS FOR WHICH THE WORKERS RECEIVED NO PAY
THROUGHOUT THE TERM OF THE CONTRACT. (COMMENT: THIS MIGHT
MEAN THAT WORKERS WHO RECEIVE BACK WAGE PAYMENTS IN THE
FUTURE WILL BE OBLIGATED TO PAY THE INSTALLMENT FOR THE
PERIOD FOR WHICH THEY ARE BEING PAID. END COMMENT.)

9. (U) SECOND, MANY WORKERS PAID A DEPOSIT WHICH WAS
INTENDED TO GO TOWARDS PAYING A $5000 PENALTY IF THEY FAILED
TO HONOR THE CONTRACT. IN THIS CASE, THE DEPOSITS ARE BEING
PAID BACK, AND THE WORKERS WILL NOT BE SUBJECT TO THE $5000
PENALTY. EMBOFFS ASKED WHETHER THIS ALSO APPLIED TO THE
WORKERS THAT HAD RETURNED IN 1999 AND 2000, MANY OF WHOM
WERE ALLEGEDLY FORCIBLY RETURNED TO VIETNAM AFTER THEY WENT
ON STRIKE OR TOOK OTHER ACTIONS TO TRY TO IMPROVE THEIR
SITUATION AT DAEWOOSA. HERE TOO, THE WORKERS WILL NOT BE
REQUIRED TO PAY THE CONTRACT PERFORMANCE PENALTIES. HANG
TOLD US THAT ONE OF THE LABOR EXPORT COMPANIES HAD TRIED TO
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HANOI 00934 02 OF 02 190957Z
GO TO COURT TO FORCE SOME OF THESE WORKERS TO PAY THE
PENALTY, BUT THE COURT REFUSED TO HEAR THE CASE SAYING THAT
THE WORKERS FAILED TO COMPLETE THEIR CONTRACTS FOR REASONS
BEYOND THEIR CONTROL AND THEREFORE HAD NO LIABILITY.

COMMENT
-------
11. (SBU) COMMENT: JUDGING FROM HANG'S QUIETLY POSITIVE
REACTION TO OUR DISCUSSION, WASHINGTON AGENCIES' DECISION TO
SHARE INFORMATION WITH THE GVN AND TO FACILITATE
COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THOSE WORKERS WHO SO DESIRED AND THEIR
GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES AND FAMILIES HAS HELPED EASE SOME
TENSION. AT LEAST WITHIN MOLISA, A CERTAIN REALISM IS
SHAPING OFFICIALS' OPINIONS. THEY SEEM GENUINELY PLEASED
THAT ALLEGED WRONG-DOINGS IN THE CASE ARE BEING ADDRESSED
AND ARE SUPPORTIVE OF THAT EFFORT. THEY ALSO SEEM TO HAVE
ACCEPTED THAT SOME WORKERS MAY WELL REMAIN IN THE UNITED
STATES ONCE THE COURT CASE HAS BEEN COMPLETED. ON THE OTHER
HAND, MOLISA MAY AT SOME POINT JOIN THE MFA WHICH IS LIKELY
TO CONTINUE TO PRESS FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE WORKERS,
ACCESS TO THE WORKERS AND A NEGOTIATED AGREEMENT ON
REPATRIATION OF THE WORKERS. BUT FOR NOW, A CONTINUED
SUPPLY OF INFORMATION WILL HELP THEM MOST WITH THEIR
PRIORITY TASKS WHICH ARE TO PROVIDE INFORMATION TO THE
WORKERS' FAMILIES HERE IN VIETNAM AND TO DEVELOP WAYS TO
AVOID SUCH INCIDENTS AGAIN IN THE FUTURE.
PETERSON

UNCLASSIFIED

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