Samsung Electronics has been hit by fresh allegations of child workers at a Chinese supplier, a week after the South Korean group assured investors that there was no underage labor involved in making its products.
In the latest of a series of undercover reports on Samsung's and its suppliers' factories, the New York-based group China Labor Watch (CLW) on Thursday claimed to have found evidence of five child workers at Shinyang Electronic, a Samsung supplier in Dongguan, southern China.
The failure to ensure legal labor standards among Chinese suppliers has become a source of embarrassment to Samsung and other leading electronics companies.
In its annual "sustainability report" last week, Samsung disclosed extensive illegal practices involving most of its more than 200 suppliers in China, with violations including lack of safety training and working hours over legal limits, which it had previously vowed to end by the end of 2012.
But Samsung said that extensive audits of all its suppliers, by an unnamed external agency, had found no evidence of child labor.
CLW condemned such assurances as "false advertisement meant to bolster its image as a responsible corporate citizen".
Its report offered redacted photographs, employee passes and identity cards to support its claim to have found five 14- or 15-year old workers at Shinyang, all from the same nearby middle school.
CLW said that the workers had been hired using fake identity cards, with managers ignoring a verification system that Samsung said it had ordered all suppliers to use.