23 Oct 2002

Daewoosa Samoa trial opens in Hawaii

9:26 am on 23 October 2002

The trial is scheduled to open in Hawaii today of the owner of the now closed Daewoosa Samoa garment factory in American Samoa on forced labour charges.

Kil Soo Lee will stand trial in a Honolulu federal court together with Virginia Soliai and Robert Atimalala for conspiring to hold Vietnamese workers in involuntary servitude.

The charges say the mainly Asian workers in Pago Pago were held in a fenced compound by guards and faced violence if they complained about it.

Prosecutors are expected to call more than 90 witnesses, while the defence will call more than 110 witnesses.

The trial is expected to last several months and if the three accused are found guilty on all charges they could be jailed for up to 390 years.