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Samsung and Lenovo blasted by yet more illegal child labour allegations

Just one month after activists found evidence of child labour at a Chinese contractor recruiting for Samsung, the South Korean company has been hit alongside Lenovo with more allegations of illegally hiring child workers.

A New York based human rights group called China Labor Watch has claimed that HEG Electronics, a Guangdong factory that supplies both Samsung and Lenovo, was employing more than 10 children during an investigation over July and August.

Worse still, the non-governmental organisation reports that its probe uncovered that over 100 student workers were not paid overtime when doing overtime work, or a night shift subsidy.

This is not the first time that HEG Electronics has been blasted by China Labor Watch. Back in 2012 the activist group accused Samsung of breaking laws regarding excessive overtime at the same Chinese contractor.

"Samsung promised to correct child labour and other violations throughout its supply chain [after the 2012 case]. But based on the follow-up probe conducted by CLW in July and August, not only have conditions at HEG failed to improve, they have worsened," the rights group said.

HEG technology has defended itself, claiming that it has never hired children through the help of rigorous facial recognition technology that roots out minors in its staff.

The company asserted the minimum age of employees helping manufacture Samsung products is 18, while the youngest workers employed on the Lenovo production line are 16.

However, Samsung has released a statement saying the company was one of instigator's of CLW's investigation in the first place. The electronics manufacturer claims that it had proposed a joint investigation with China Labor Watch to obtain "more precise verification" of the watchdog's allegations, before handing over full control to CLW.

"We find it regrettable that CLW issued the allegations today without any mention of our statement," Samsung said.

Update 09:41 BST 19/08/2013: ITProPortal has been contacted by Lenovo with the following statement, "At Lenovo, we pride ourselves on adhering to the highest industry standards and codes of conduct in all of our operations and throughout our supply chain."

"We were not aware of the situation as outlined in this report, but have moved quickly to investigate. We can confirm that Lenovo does not have a direct business relationship with HEG. We have a zero tolerance for any child labor violations in our extended supply chain and will react accordingly once we have fully investigated the situation."