Hebei Two protesters call for boycott of Korean products
Samsung cell phones, TV sets and other products were smashed at a December 23 rally in Mumbai as Indian seafarers and their supporters expressed their anger over the imprisonment in Korea of "the Hebei Two," Jasprit Chawla and Chetan Syam, the captain and chief officer of the Hebei Spirit, the tanker that released South Korea's largest yet oil spill when it was struck by a runaway Samsung crane barge while at anchor.
Abdulgani Y. Serang, general secretary, NUSI (National Union of Seafarers of India) called for a boycott of Samsung products, saying it would "surely make an impact on the South Korean economy. We, as a marine community, will start a nationwide movement to ensure that justice is done in this case.''
The Indian Government has been making strong diplomatic efforts to secure the release of the two officers, "but now it needs to do more and if the diplomatic pressure is not working, they should even go to the extent of banning the import of South Korean products into India,'' Mr. Serang said.
At a rally two days earlier in Chennai, Captain K. Vivekanand, President, Merchant Navy Officers Association (MNOA) said that "if the Korean government does not release the two officers, we will up the ante against Korean companies in India. Our next target is Hyundai ... Hyundai exports 4,000 cars every week from Chennai. We will ensure that we stop that."
Meantime, Captain Rajesh Tandon, managing director of V Ships India Private Limited, who was at the Mumbai rally, said the company would soon file an appeal of the sentence with the Korean Supreme Court.