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Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong's pardon won in court of public opinion

5.9m individual shareholders rallied around leader of South Korea's top tech company

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong is greeted by employees on his return to work Aug. 19. (Photo courtesy of Samsung Electronics)

SEOUL -- After his presidential pardon was announced last month, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong vowed to "work even harder to achieve growth along with South Korean society."

Such talk is bound to resonate with the nearly 6 million South Koreans who own shares in the country's most valuable listed company.

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