Chinese worker kills himself over missing iPhone


— 3:09 PM on July 22, 2009

Apple's penchant for secrecy has led to a number of lawsuits and legal threats, but this might be the first time someone has actually died because of it. As the Associated Press reports, a worker in Shenzhen, China committed suicide last week after one of the iPhone prototypes he was responsible for went missing.

Sun Danyong worked at Foxconn, the Taiwanese contract manufacturer that makes iPods and iPhones, where he was responsible for shipping iPhone prototypes over to Apple. On July 13, the AP says one of the 16 fourth-gen iPhone prototypes under Sun's custody went missing. Sun's friends allege that Foxconn subsequently sent out security staff who "searched his apartment, detained him and beat him." Three days later, Sun jumped off the 12th floor of his apartment building.

Apple had only this to say about the incident:

We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee, and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death . . . We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect.

Foxconn, meanwhile, suspended security chief Gu Qinming and turned him over to the authorities. Gu claims he never beat Sun, although he did believe the employee was lying about the prototype's disappearance.

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