Foxconn Employee Kills Himself After Misplacing iPhone Prototype

Sun Danyong, a 25 year old employee of Chinese iPhone manufacturer Foxconn is believed to have committed suicide after losing one of 16 iPhone prototypes that had been placed in his care by the company. Reports claim that his suicide was after what may have been an illegal search of his home, as well as being physically detained and possibly even abused during questioning.

VentureBeat pieces together some of the numerous reports:

On Thursday, July 9th, Sun got 16 prototype phones from the assembly line at a local Foxconn factory. At some point in the next few days, he discovered that one of the phones was missing. He suspected that it had been left at the factory, but couldn’t find it. On Monday, July 13, he reported the missing phone to his boss. Then, that Wednesday, three Foxconn employees searched his apartment — illegally, according to Chinese law. Accusations are flying that Sun was detained and physically abused during the investigation, although this has not been substantiated (possible evidence: there’s this somewhat garbled and potentially faked instant message exchange from Sun shortly before his death).

What is known: On Thursday — a little after 3 a.m. according to surveillance videos in the apartment building — he jumped out of a window in his apartment building to his death.

Foxconn management has released a statement (translation) in which they offer their condolences to the family of the deceased, and also say they are putting the security guards who were responsible for the search on unpaid leave pending the investigation. They also claim to be offering resources to assist with mental health issues.

Cnet reports that Apple has since released an official statement on the incident:

“We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death,” Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet told CNET on Tuesday. “We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect.”

Apple has refused to comment on any details concerning the missing prototype.

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