Toy manufacturer suspected suicide

By Zhan Lisheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-08-14 07:15

FOSHAN, Guangdong: Police are investigating the death of Zhang Shuhong, the boss of a local toy company, whom they suspect committed suicide over the weekend because of the pressure he faced in connection with a recent massive product recall in the US.

"The case is still under investigation, and we can't tell you more about it," an officer surnamed Chen with the Foshan public security bureau's Nanhai branch told China Daily yesterday.

Zhang, the boss of Lee Der Industrial Co Ltd in the city's Nanhai District, was found hanging by himself in the corner of one of his warehouses at about 3pm on Saturday.

His death followed a decision by the General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine to ban his toy export business last week after 967,000 of the toys it had made were recalled in the US.

An employee, who would only identify himself by his surname Liu, said the recall, which came at the request of the US toy giant Mattel Inc because of excessive amounts of lead in the paint on the toys, would cost Lee Der about $30 million.

"The losses will be difficult for our firm to bear," Liu said.

The plastic toys to be recalled are from the Fisher-Price brand, which is aimed at preschool age children. The recalled toys include Big Bird, Elmo, Dora and Diego dolls, which are very popular in the US.

"The paint was supplied by a so-called bosom friend of our boss. His surname is Liang," Liu said. "Most of us believe that Liang is to blame."

Liang, whose business was said to have relied on business from the toy firm in the past decade, was not available yesterday.

(China Daily 08/14/2007 page3)

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