Taiwanese steel firm to sack executive over remarks on Vietnam's mass fish deaths

By Duc Hung, Vuong Anh   April 28, 2016 | 11:56 am GMT+7
Taiwanese steel firm to sack executive over remarks on Vietnam's mass fish deaths
Deputy Chief of Formosa’s representative office in Hanoi Chou Chun Fan : Duc Hung

Disgraced Formosa executive Chou Chun Fan has told VnExpress that the Taiwanese steel corporation plans to fire him over remarks he made regarding the recent mass fish deaths along the coastal provinces of Vietnam.

On April 27, the deputy chief of Formosa’s representative office in Hanoi Chou Chun Fan said he had a conversation with one of Formosa's leaders about his future at the company and told he would probably be fired.

Chou said the reason for this was his previous remarks about the trade-off between the steel plant and marine life when asked by reporters about the role Formosa’s wastewater pipe may have played in the mass fish deaths in Ha Tinh.

“I have frustrated the public and my actions have affected the corporation,” he said.

Regarding the formal decision to fire him, Chou said he has seen the paperwork but has not received official confirmation.

"The matter has been settled since the matter has been reported back to the company’s headquarters in Taiwan.”

Chou said he has mentally prepared to face the consequences. “I am on my way to Hanoi to deal with some unfinished business. I plan to return to Taiwan after the April 30 holiday to see my wife and children.” he said.

Chou is 49 years old and started working for Formosa in 2008. He has a Vietnamese wife and two children.

On April 25, reporters asked Chou about whether Formosa’s submarine wastewater outlet was to blame for the thousands of dead fish around Ha Tinh. He replied: “Sometimes in order to win something, you have to lose something. It’s impossible to build a steel plant here and keep fish stocks in the surrounding area high at the same time.”

His statement has met with strong criticism from the public and a press conference was held by Formosa a day after. Deputy director of the company Zhang Funing said Chou’s statements had “seriously undermined” the good relationship between the company, authorities in Ha Tinh and the Vietnamese government.

Zhang said the statements made by Mr Chou were personal opinions and did not represent Formosa’s view, while also mentioning that the company will "take strict disciplinary action".