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September 10, 1996

Pair cited $92,000 on explosives charge

TUMWATER - Two King County men in prison on charges of illegally manufacturing and selling explosives have been fined an additional $92,000 - $46,000 each - in civil penalties by the state Department of Labor & Industries.

The citations, carrying among the highest penalties ever issued by the department for explosives violations, were delivered to Andrew Yim of Kent and Deng Samphao of Seattle at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton.

The men, both 22, were convicted earlier this year of criminal charges after an 8-year-old boy lit off a tennis ball filled with flash powder. The Jan. 29 blast damaged the boy's family home in Kent and so badly injured his left hand that it had to be amputated.

Yim and Samphao later admitted to King County Police that they had supplied the explosives responsible for the boy's injury. Labor & Industries' explosives experts joined the county in its investigation of the incident.

L&I regulates the manufacture, handling, sale and storage of explosives in Washington State. The L&I citation charges the two with the illegal storing 3,000 M-80 explosive devices and 24 tennis balls at Samphao's Seattle apartment, and 41,200 M-80s, 156 tennis balls and 10 pounds of flash powder at a storage locker in South Seattle.

Neither man had obtained the required manufacture's license or storage permits from the department.

Each man was issued a citation totaling $46,000. The citations are in the department's "serious willful" category, meaning they had knowledge of the regulation and knowingly violated it.

The men were sentenced in King County Superior Court on May 24 to two years in prison on criminal charges. The L&I civil action began in July, when papers from the court were forwarded to the department.

L&I explosives specialist Morris Payne said that by issuing the fines, the department hopes to deter others from the manufacture and sale of illegal fireworks. The L&I fines were assessed under the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act. Yim and Samphao have 15 days to file an appeal.

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