DAEWOOSA SAMOA RECEIVES MONEY, FOOD FOR VIETNAMESE WORKERS

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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (Feb. 22, 2001 - PIDP/CPIS)---The Daewoosa Samoa receivership has obtained $11,000 in cash to help care for the more than 200 workers at the bankrupt garment factory.

The money came from the High Court following a motion filed by the Vietnamese government's Tourism 12 Company (Tourco 12) to use the funds collected as fines from Daewoosa and its owner Kil-Soo Lee to feed the indigent Vietnamese workers.

Tourco 12 is a co-defendant in the workers’ class action suit that is now in the court of Associate Justice Lyle Richmond.

Local attorney Paul Miller is the legal counsel for Tourco 12.

Tourco 12 asked the High Court early this month to "subordinate" its claim to $11,000 worth of fines collected from Daewoosa and its owner. The funds were deposited into the court’s registry.

The motion asked that the funds be turned over to the Daewoosa receiver for the benefit of the workers living at the Daewoosa compound in Tafuna.

Additional donations from churches and the general public are helping pay for the workers’ food expenses.

Daewoosa also recently received a $7,000 payment from one of its customers.

Interim general manager Ben Solaita said that it costs between $700-$800 a day to feed the workers three daily meals, as required by federal law.

Daewoosa receiver Jim Fones said the money will help care for the workers.

Besides individuals, churches and other local groups have cared for many of the workers.

Responding to a solicitation request from Pastor Moru Mane of the Emanuel Baptist Church, StarKist Samoa and COS Samoa Packing each donated 50, 12-pack cases of wahoo.

 

VIETNAMESE WORKERS CONVERTED TO CHRISTIANITY

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (Feb. 22, 2001 - PIDP/CPIS)--More than 20 Daewoosa Samoa Vietnamese factory workers were converted from Buddhism to Christianity in a ceremony held at Lions Park, according to Diane Daniel of the Hawai‘i Pacific Baptist Convention.

Daniel, who is on island working with the Samoa Baptist group and also the interim director for the Pago Pago Seafearer, said one-third of the Vietnamese workers baptized on Sunday were men.

The total number baptized was 26.

Daniel said the group's first contact with the workers was in January when they were here to do evangelical work.

Asked if any of the workers will face persecution when they return to Vietnam now that they have been converted to Christianity, Daniel said: "I don't think so. Considering the fact that the American Samoa government is working together with the Vietnamese government, I don't think anything will happen to them."

However, there are individuals in the community and in the U.S. who believe otherwise.

The Vietnamese Embassy in Washington, D.C. issued a recent statement responding to media inquiries and planned hearings by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom on religious freedom in Vietnam.

According to the Embassy, all major international religions are practiced in the communist regime.

"The Constitution and the law of Vietnam guarantee religious freedom," said the Embassy.

The Embassy estimates that there are more than 30,000 religious sites across the country that it said are visited by increasing number of religious believers.

The Vietnam's army newspaper Quan Doi Nhan said: "There is no religious discrimination, repression or arrest of any religious believer in Viet Nam."

Governor Tauese Sunia, in a letter to the Vietnam Embassy in Washington, D.C. last week, said that of importance to the local government is the assurance "that the workers would not face any recriminations upon their return to Vietnam."

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