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Samsung offers compensation and "deep" apologies after covering up over 50 cancer deaths

Samsung has issued a "deep" apology after it emerged that several of its employees contracted fatal illnesses while working for the tech giant.

The South Korean company has also pledged to compensate the families of the victims.

Read more: Samsung pledges to improve supplier working conditions

"Several workers at our production facilities suffered from leukemia and other incurable diseases, which also led to some deaths," said Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-hyun.

"We should have settled the issue earlier, and we are deeply heartbroken that we failed to do so and express our deep apology."

The public statement was only made after mounting pressure from activists, who claimed that poor working conditions – especially in semiconductor plants – were directly related to the deaths.

In 2007, production worker Hwang Yu-mi died from leukaemia, and in 2011, a Seoul administrative court said it was likely that she fell ill because of exposure to hazardous chemicals at a Samsung facility.

Worryingly, Hwang's case is not isolated.

A documentary released last month claims that as many as 56 Samsung employees have been affected by leukaemia and other serious illnesses.

Furthermore, Samsung has been accused of trying to cover up the situation. Leaked text messages suggest that Samsung tried to get a film about Hwang pulled, but the company denied this was the case.

Read more: Three Foxconn employees commit suicide within a month

The movie, called 'Another Promise' went ahead anyway, funded entirely by public donations. In order to avoid legal action from Samsung, the filmmakers said they had to change name of the company to "Jinsung".

Apple has also been accused of neglecting the worker welfare. Chinese company Foxconn, which is often used by Apple for manufacturing its devices, has a long and controversial history when it comes to labour rights.