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UPDATE 1-S.Korea bourse fines BofA Merrill Lynch over irregular trading

(Adds details of bank's actions from bourse statement)

SEOUL, July 16 (Reuters) - The Korea Exchange (KRX) said on Tuesday it has imposed a 175 million won ($148,655) fine on Bank of America Merrill Lynch's South Korean unit for irregular trading activities.

The investment bank's algorithmic trading operations placed 6,220 false orders from October 2017 to May 2018, the bourse said in a statement in Korean. Such practice may have encouraged other market participants to follow suit and buy those assets, boosting their prices, the bourse said.

A Hong Kong-based spokesman for Bank of America Merrill Lynch declined to comment.

($1 = 1,177.2200 won) (Reporting by Hayoung Choi and Ju-min Park in Seoul and Alun John in Hong Kong; Editing by Christopher Cushing)