Dozens of Chinese workers held by Philippine police

08:10, July 28, 2010      

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The dozens of Chinese workers being held by police at a Philippine mine are safe, China's embassy in Manila said on Tuesday.

The workers have been held since Thursday at a chromite mine in Masinloc, 150 km northwest of the capital.

According to Wang Xiaobo, Chinese consul to the Philippines, 108 workers are being held. Other media have reported 80 are being detained by police.

AFP reported that they were arrested for working illegally, but Wang told China Daily that some workers have legal work visas, and others entered the Philippines on tourist visas and are applying for work visas.

He said Chinese embassy officials in Manila visited the workers and confirmed that they were in good condition. The workers, who are being held on site, can make phone calls and their basic needs are being adequately met, he said.

The mine is operated by Filipino firm Compania Minera Tubajon, AFP reported. It is a joint-venture with Chinese investment.

According to local media and information from the company, the arrests may be connected to the company's financial disputes with local companies.

Wang said the embassy has contacted Philippine authorities and asked them to ensure the workers' personal freedom as soon as possible, carefully investigate the incident and handle it legally and fairly.

The official said the case was complicated but could not give more details, adding that the embassy would make every effort to secure the workers' freedom, as well as guarantee their rights and interests.

Compania Minera's chief operating officer, Arsenia Lim, refused to comment on the incident.

Chromite is the ore for chromium, which is mixed with steel to make it harder and resistant to corrosion.

Source:China Daily


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