iPhone prototype loss prompts worker suicide

Reports are surfacing that a young Chinese worked has killed himself after losing track of a next-generation iPhone prototype.

25-year-old Sun Danyong reportedly leapt to his death last Thursday from his 12th floor apartment. The young man was tasked with shipping 16 super secret fourth generation iPhones to Cupertino. Somewhere along the line, one of the sixteen phones vanished. From VentureBeat:

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 has come under scrutiny in the past for worker treatment. And competition to retain Apple manufacturing contracts in China is fierce- an early leak such as this could severely compromise Foxconn’s ability to continue working with Apple. Commentators in China, however, are fingering Apple’s famed policies of secrecy as pressuring Sun Danyong into a very early grave.

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