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July 14 (Bloomberg) -- Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest smartphone maker, said it suspended a supplier in China after finding evidence of illegal hiring.

Authorities are investigating and the supplier will be permanently cut from Samsung’s business if it’s found to have hired underage workers, the Suwon, South Korea-based company said in a statement today.

China Labor Watch, a worker activist group, last week said at least five workers below the legal age of 16 worked at the plant in Dongguan amid increased scrutiny of practices in the supply chains of technology companies. The report followed the release of Samsung’s sustainability report, which said 59 suppliers failed to provide adequate safety equipment for staff while there were no instances found of child labor.

The supplier was subject to an audit in March 2013, which was followed by third-party inspections in August and another that concluded on June 25 of this year, with no child labor found, Samsung said.

“Following the CLW allegations, however, Samsung found evidences of illegal hiring process that took place on June 29,” it said in the e-mailed statement. “Samsung will strengthen its hiring process not only at its production facilities but also at its suppliers to prevent such cases from reoccurring.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Jungah Lee in Seoul at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at Robert Fenner, Terje Langeland

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