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Questions remain as Foxconn reportedly reaches settlement with family of dead engineer
Rodney Chan, DIGITIMES, Taipei [Friday 24 July 2009]

Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision Industry) is said to have reached a preliminary agreement with the family of an engineer who is believed to have killed himself after losing a prototype unit of Apple's next-generation iPhone.

The Southern Metropolis Daily – which first reported the death of engineer, Sun Danyong, at Foxconn's massive manufacturing base in Shenzhen, China – did not indicate the terms of the agreement.

But the paper said Sun's body was already cremated on July 22.

Apple, which has Foxconn make many of its products at the Shenzhen base, has confirmed the death of the engineer, and an Apple spokesperson in Hong Kong has been cited by the Associated Press as saying that "We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect."

The remark is apparently a response to allegations that Sun had been mistreated and even beaten by managers investigating the loss of the device.

The Southern Metropolis Daily on July 23 said it had obtained CCTV footage of the interviews where Sun was questioned by managers, but there was no indication in the footage that the engineer was beaten.

But the news has failed to convince skeptics, the paper said, citing some readers as questioning whether the footage could really clear Foxconn of the beating allegations.

Some other readers said the case highlighted Foxconn's alleged violation of human rights by searching the engineer's dormitory room for the lost device.

Some questions may never be answered, such as what really drove the engineer to kill himself, or how the device was lost. And Apple is unlikely to confirm what actually was lost.

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