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Samsung to Compensate Cancer-Stricken Employees in South Korea

Samsung has promised to pay compensation to employees who got cancer while working at its semiconductor plants in South Korea, in the hopes of resolving a 9-year legal battle.

Advocacy groups have claimed harmful chemicals used in the manufacturing of chips have caused cancer in hundreds of Samsung employees. One group, Banollim, claims 243 Samsung employees contracted leukemia or other cancers, and 92 have died. Only three of the cases were officially deemed to be work related.

The South Korea-based technology giant has denied it created dangerous working conditions at is factories, after a study by U.S. scientific consultancy firm Environ International in 2011 found exposure to harmful chemicals to be very low.

Despite this, Samsung has come under increasing pressure to take action to compensate victims. Government opposition lawmaker Sim Sang-jung, along with lobby groups representing victims, called for Samsung to apologize to the employees.

On Wednesday, the tech giant said it had listened to Sim's proposals and would compensate those affected and their families. "We could have been more diligent in addressing the hardship and sorrow of former employees and the families of the deceased," Samsung told CNBC in an emailed statement.

"We wholeheartedly accept the proposal and will make due compensation for former employees battling illness and the families of the deceased," it said, without elaborating.

The issue came to light in 2007 after former Samsung worker Hwang Yu-mi died at the age of 23 after being diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.