A whistleblower whose allegations of environmental misconduct rattled South Korea’s largest company says that he doesn’t regret coming forward — but that he was isolated by his company in the aftermath and that many coworkers have refused to speak to him.
Now retired, the whistleblower, who asked to be identified only as Mr. Kang, was an environmental safety manager for Samsung for more than 40 years until 2021. He first disclosed allegations of pollution and corporate inaction by Samsung at one of its flagship cell phone manufacturing plants in Vietnam last year to Newstapa, a leading South Korean investigative news outlet.
Samsung is one of the world’s largest electronics manufacturers and among the most powerful South Korean companies.
Mr. Kang spoke to The Examination in one of the first interviews given since the Newstapa investigation was published. According to internal reports, Newstapa wrote, Samsung emitted potentially carcinogenic gases without adequate controls and illegally discharged wastewater and raw sewage into the community.
In documents shared with reporters, Mr. Kang identified dozens of health violations at the Samsung plant, which is north of Hanoi. Residents who live nearby told Newstapa the wastewater had damaged a once thriving rice field, stoking health fears for those eating the grains.