Chinese engineer kills self over lost ’4G’ iPhone

July 23rd, 2009 by

A Chinese worker killed himself after a fourth-generation iPhone prototype he was responsible for disappeared.

The 25-year-old engineer, Sun Danyong, who worked for Foxconn, jumped from a 12-story building last week. A Chinese newspaper reported that his property had been seized and that he was held in solitary confinement, where he faced “unbearable interrogation techniques” for having lost one of 16 “4G” prototypes. Foxconn apologized, but questioned reports that police beat Sun.

Apple issued a statement this afternoon in response to a report by CNET. A spokeswoman said the Silicon Valley firm is “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.”

VentureBeat, AppleInsider and The Register are among the tech sites covering this story.

AppleInsider notes that it’s the second piece of bad news for the company recently. Last week an investigation found that 45 of the 83 factories that built iPhones and iPods in 2008 weren’t paying valid overtime rates, and that 23 weren’t even paying some of their workers China’s minimum wage.

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