Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 17 Nov 2018 12am







    Saturday, November 17, 2018-7:20:47A.M.






Font Size


Garment firm ordered to pay $3.5M

PAGO PAGO (Samoa News/PINA) — American Samoa’s High Court has found Daewoosa Samoa, its owner and two Vietnamese recruiting agencies, responsible for the financial plight of the imported workers at the closed garment factory.
The court’s decision was based on a civil action lawsuit filed by Daewoosa’s Asian garment workers against Daewoosa Samoa and its owner, Kil Soo Lee, for two years of non-payment of wages.
In a judgment believed the largest the court has handed down in recent years, the court ordered Daewoosa Samoa, Kil Soo Lee, and the recruiting agencies to pay the workers:
• $1.6 million for two years of back wages and payroll taxes owed;
• $1.1 million reimbursement for “initial fees” illegally charged for “right to work” in American Samoa;
• $405,000 reimbursement for “room and board” charges not included in their employment contracts as claimed by Daewoosa;
• $270,000 in fines for illegally withholding passports and ID cards;
• $100,000 for attorney fees.
The total judgment, including attorney’s fees, stands at approximately $3.5 million, according to the court’s 103-page opinion and order. This was signed by Associate Justice Lyle L. Richmond and Chief Associate Judge Logoai Siaki.
Arrested in American Samoa on March 23 last year, Kil Soo Lee is being held in federal custody in Honolulu. He is charged with holding workers in involuntary service conditions and forced labor.
Two of his former managers are charged along with Lee and the case is set to go to trial on Oct. 22.
The American Samoa court judgment set a precedent in jurisdiction over a foreign government that recruits foreign workers to work in the territory.
The Vietnamese government recruiting agencies Tourism Co. 12 and International Manpower Supply recruited more than 250 workers for Daewoosa Samoa.
Compensations were categorized as payable to: Chinese workers, independent Vietnamese workers, IMS Vietnamese workers and TC12 Vietnamese workers.