Apple Manufacturer Foxconn Pays Family of iPhone Suicide

 
 
By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2009-07-28 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Apple manufacturer Foxconn, which produces the company's iPods and iPhones, plans to compensate the family of engineer Sun Danyong, who fell to his death on July 16 after a fourth-generation iPhone prototype in his possession disappeared. Sun's parents will receive both a lump sum and annual payments. Apple has dealt with public-relations crises by Foxconn before, mostly concerning the Chinese manufacturer's labor practices.

Apple iPhone and iPod manufacturer Foxconn will pay compensation to the family of an employee who died after an iPhone prototype went missing.

On July 16, 25-year-old Foxconn engineer Sun Danyong fell to his death from the twelfth floor of his Shenzhen apartment building, in what local authorities initially ruled a suicide. According to the Chinese newspaper Nanfang Daily, Sun sent a text message to a friend before his death, claiming that he had been interrogated and beaten by Foxconn security after a fourth-generation iPhone prototype in his possession disappeared.

Sun had been tasked with sending 16 prototypes of the smartphone to the United States. After he reported one of the devices missing, Foxconn personnel searched his apartment and questioned him. His interrogator, Security Manager Gu Qinming, denied that he had harmed Sun in any way beyond putting a hand on his shoulder.   

According to the Associated Press , Foxconn will pay Sun's parents a lump sum of roughly $52,600, on top of an annual $4,385 for the rest of their natural lives.

A report by The New York Times earlier this week suggested that Sun's girlfriend had also received an Apple laptop as compensation.

In the wake of the death, which incited a great deal of international attention, Foxconn also suspended the security manager and issued a statement that read: "The company has noticed there has been much detailed discussion on the Internet and welcomes public discussion on how to help Foxconn's management where it is lacking."

Apple has previously dealt with public-relations crises caused by Foxconn. In 2006, a British newspaper alleged that the Chinese manufacturer violated labor practices, prompting Apple to audit Foxconn's facilities and interview over 100 "randomly selected employees."

According to the report issued by Apple's team, the factory passed inspection in many areas, although it found that "employees worked longer hours than permitted by our Code of Conduct, which limits normal workweeks to 60 hours."

"Although our Code of Conduct allows overtime limit exceptions in unusual circumstances," read the report, "we believe in the importance of a healthy work-life balance and found these percentages to be excessive."

To date, there have been no reports on whether the iPhone prototype had been recovered. A Foxconn employee suggested to a New York Times reporter that other products in Sun's possession had disappeared in the past, only to have Sun recover them later.

 


 
 
 
 
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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