Following a global recall due to a battery defect, Samsung Hong Kong is now offering to replace its newly launched Galaxy Note 7 for customers, in a dramatic U-turn of events. The announcement came a day after a company spokesperson denied the brand’s flagship devices sold in the city were affected. In a statement issued on Saturday, the Hong Kong arm of the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer confirmed that “less than 500 sets” of the phone sold between August 26 and September 1 this year carried the problem batteries. “We are deeply sorry, and we promise to provide affected customers with a new handset,” the statement added. However, phones sold at authorised resellers or distributors in Hong Kong and Macau on or after September 2 remained unaffected, the company stressed. It urged those who have purchased the Galaxy Note 7 to verify whether they were part of the recall programme by using the IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) code on each device. Starting 11am Monday, Hong Kong customers can call 3698 4698, while those in Macau can seek assistance by ringing +0800333. Alternatively they can visit www.samsung.com/hk . Sales of the Note 7 – which analysts believe was aimed at countering the release of Apple’s iPhone 7 later this month – were brought to a halt worldwide amid reports that the device’s battery could explode during charging. “As of September 1, there have been 35 cases reported globally and we are currently conducting a thorough inspection with our suppliers to identify possible affected batteries in the market,” Samsung said in a statement released on Friday afternoon. According to the company, it had sold 600,000 units of the Note 7 in 10 markets worldwide since August 19.