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Vietnamese tea firm director found dead in China

Tuesday, September 29, 2015, 15:02 GMT+7

The Vietnamese director of a tea firm in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong has been found dead for an unknown cause in mainland China, the provincial Association of Young Entrepreneurs said.

Ha Thuy Linh, a 43-year-old director of the province-based Ha Linh O Long Tea Company and vice chair of the association, died in mainland China on Tuesday during her business trip, the association said Wednesday, citing her family.

Linh departed from Vietnam on September 19 to go to Guangzhou Province.

At about 10:00 am on Tuesday, the Chinese Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City informed the company that Chinese competent agencies had discovered a body suspected to be Linh, lawyer Truong Quang Quy, the company’s legal advisor, said.

The consulate also described some characteristics of the corpse, along with the personal particulars shown in a passport found with the dead woman, lawyer Quy added.

Such information matches Linh’s personal details stored at the firm, the lawyer said.

He added the company has set up a temporary supervisory committee to operate and control all its business activities.

The Lam Dong Department of External Relations has contacted Vietnam’s diplomatic representative office in mainland China to seek more information on Linh’s death, according to Tran Thanh Hoai, deputy director of the department.

The department also asked its counterpart in Ho Chi Minh City to work with the Chinese Consulate General on granting visas to Linh’s relatives to go to mainland China as soon as possible, Hoai said.

“On Wednesday afternoon, Linh’s relatives and her company’s representatives got their visas,” he added.

“We are waiting for an official notice about Linh’s death from Chinese authorities. The Lam Dong administration has asked the Consular Department under the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work with China’s competent agencies on her sudden death,” the official said.

Once victim of ‘dioxin-tainted tea’ rumor

Linh founded the Ha Linh O Long Tea Company in 2008 after she divorced her Taiwanese husband, who had established Haiyih Tea Company, where the woman was a vice director.

Her company now owns 200 hectares of tea plantations in Xuan Truong Commune in Da Lat, a famous resort city in Lam Dong.

The firm is able to produce 14 tons of finished and raw tea products per day, of which 60 percent are exported to Taiwan and mainland China.

Ha Linh O Long Tea said most of its partners in Taiwan and mainland China are currently indebted to the company.

In November last year, a groundless rumor spread in Taiwan and mainland China that tea produced in Lam Dong was tainted with dioxin, a highly poisonous chemical.

The rumor caused a long delay in customs clearance for 11 tons of tea of Linh’s company in Taiwan, causing a loss of more than VND2 billion (US$89,000).

Then Linh had to go to Taiwan to take some action against the malicious rumor, which was suspected to be circulated by her business rivals there.


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