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S Korean govt probes Samsung Note 7 fires

AAP logoAAP 16/10/2016

The South Korean government has started its own investigation to find the causes of the spontaneous combustions of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones that led the company to suspend sales and halt production of the device earlier in the week.

The state-run Korea Testing Laboratory is working with five phones provided by Samsung Electronics that caught fire in South Korea, industry sources told the Yonhap news agency on Sunday.

KTL will not only inspect batteries, which the company said was the source of the fires, but will also use technologies such as X-ray and computerised tomography to find the exact cause of the problem, according to the sources.

"We have handed over the phones (that caught fire) to KTL and will cooperate with their investigation, but we can't just sit and wait for its result," said a Samsung spokesperson, who added that the company has been "mobilising all possible resources to find the exact cause of the problems as soon as possible."

Samsung is also considering testing the devices collected by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Local experts said that finding the cause of Galaxy Note 7's problem is crucial for the South Korean manufacturer to regain consumer confidence as the company gears up for the sale of its new model, Galaxy S8, next year.

Samsung began the sale of the faulty phone on August 19, but in early September announced an unprecedented recall following reports of more than 30 cases of spontaneous combustions of the phones in different countries.

The recall, which affected some 2.5 million phones, was followed in mid-September by the delivery of replacements that continued to suffer from batteries overheating leading Samsung to withdraw the product.

The firm announced on Wednesday a drastic downward review of its forecast of operating profit between July and September (33.3 per cent lower than preliminary data), and on Friday estimated the impact on its operating profit to be $US3.1 billion ($A4.1 billion) in the next six months.

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