Thu, Jul 23, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Hon Hai suspends one over Shenzhen employee suicide

BLOOMBERG AND AP , TAIPEI and GUANGZHOU

Hon Hai Group (鴻海集團), the world’s largest contract-­manufacturer of electronics, suspended a security official at one of its subsidiaries after the death of an employee who lost a prototype of an Apple iPhone.

The case of the security official, identified only by the surname “Gu,” has been turned over to Chinese authorities, Hon Hai said in a statement, without providing details.

Sun Danyong (孫丹勇), an employee at Hon Hai unit Foxconn International Holdings Ltd (富士康國際), jumped off a dormitory at a factory in Shenzhen after one of the 16 iPhone prototypes he was assigned to mail on July 10 went missing, said a Hon Hai official, who asked not to be identified.

Hon Hai is unaware of the reasons behind Sun’s suicide, the Taipei-based company’s statement said. Sun, 25, killed himself on July 16 after being investigated by company officials for the disappearance of an iPhone sample, the China Daily reported yesterday.

Foxconn didn’t authorize any person or department to violate the law, according to the statement. Hon Hai said it offered condolences to Sun’s family.

“Sun’s suicide, no matter what the reason, to a certain extent shows that Foxconn’s internal management is inadequate,” the statement said.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the group’s flagship unit and Taiwan’s biggest manufacturer by sales, owns 72 percent of Foxconn International Holdings, the world’s biggest contract-maker of mobile phones.

APPLE

Apple Inc offered its condolences yesterday as the company waits for the results of an investigation.

“We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee, and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death,” said Jill Tan (陳玉麗), an Apple spokeswoman in Hong Kong. “We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect.”

There is tremendous pressure on employees dealing with Apple’s new products to maintain a high-level secrecy over the gadgets, traditionally launched amid great suspense and marketing buzz.

Apple is also a constant target of prying journalists, rabidly faithful customers and competitors who make great efforts to try to steal a peek at its latest gadgets.

Sun’s friends said company security guards searched Sun’s apartment, detained him and beat him, the state-run Southern Metropolis Daily reported.

GU SPEAKS

The paper quoted Gu as saying he never hit Sun. The security official reportedly said that after three security personnel searched Sun’s apartment and did not find the phone, the employee was ordered to go to Gu’s office on July 15.

The security chief said he didn’t think Sun was being truthful about the phone, the paper reported.

“I got a bit agitated. I pointed my finger at him and said that he was trying to shift the blame,” Gu was quoted as saying.

“I was a little angry and I pulled his right shoulder once to get him to tell me what happened. It [the beating] couldn’t have happened,” the paper reported Gu as saying.

Foxconn executive Li Jinming (李金明) said in a statement that Sun’s death showed that the company needed to do a better job helping its employees with psychological pressures.

“Sun Danyong graduated from a good school. He joined the company in 2008. He had an extremely bright future. The group and I feel deep pain and regret when a young person dies like this,” Li said.

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