May 15, 2014 / 4:35 AM / 5 years ago

Vietnam mob attacks Formosa Plastics' steel plant; one dead

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Rioters in Vietnam attacked and set ablaze a huge steel plant belonging to Formosa Plastics Group, the Taiwan company said on Thursday, the latest facility to be targeted over mounting tension with mainland China.

Thousands of Vietnamese set fire to foreign factories and rampaged through industrial zones in the south of the country in an angry reaction to Chinese oil drilling in a part of the South China Sea claimed by Vietnam.

One Chinese worker died and 90 others were injured in Wednesday’s attack, Formosa Plastics, which is Taiwan’s largest investor in Vietnam, said in a statement.

The plant, in the central province of Ha Tinh, is expected to be southeast Asia’s largest steel making facility when it is completed in 2017. No details of fire damage or financial losses were immediately available, the company said.

Hundreds of the plant’s Vietnamese workers provoked Chinese colleagues and attacked them before setting fire to the manufacturing facilities, the company said in the statement.

The looters were driven away late on Wednesday, it said, adding that the province’s chief held an emergency meeting with police after he arrived at the site at 10 p.m.

The Ha Tinh industrial park, estimated to cost more than $20 billion, is more than half complete. When finished in 2020, it will have a port, a 2,100-MW power plant and six furnaces, Vietnamese media say.

Editing by Michael Urquhart and Clarence Fernandez

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