Vietnamese worker dies in S. Korea; family struggles to bring his body home

By Diep Le   October 10, 2016 | 10:52 pm PT
Vietnamese worker dies in S. Korea; family struggles to bring his body home
Nguyen Huy Thang (R) and the call for donations to repatriate his body by the Vietnamese community in South Korea on social media.
The family is deep in debt after borrowing money to send him overseas to work last year.

The Vietnamese community in South Korea is calling for donations to help repatriate the body of a worker who died there Saturday as his family in Vietnam is too poor to afford the transport costs.

A recent post on the Facebook page “Community of Vietnamese in Korea” said Nguyen Huy Thang, 33, from the northern province of Hai Duong, died in his sleep on Saturday. Doctors believed he had a stroke.

Thang went to work in South Korea in July 2015, after borrowing VND300 million ($13,500) to pay for procedures.

His two sons are one and three years old.

Nguyen Thi Lan, his wife, said he had sent home several million dongs to take care of their children. "But our debt is still there."

Lan said his father and brother are still trying to complete the paperwork to go to the northwestern city of Siheung and bring his body back.

“I don’t know how much it will cost to bring my husband back. We have nothing valuable,” Lan told Thanh Nien newspaper.

Local officials in Hai Duong confirmed that the family is very poor and will be offered any support possible. They said Lan quit her job at a kindergarten recently to learn Korean so that she could join her husband for a job.

Vietnamese labor laws require agencies sending workers overseas to be responsible for bringing their bodies home if they die mid-contract. It is not immediately clear if Thang went to Korea through an official agency.

Vietnam has officially sent more than 64,000 workers to South Korea since 2004.

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