SHENZHEN: A 25-year-old employee of a leading Taiwanese electronics manufacturer allegedly committed suicide after he was blamed for the disappearance of a sample iPhone mobile phone.
Sun Danyong was suspected of stealing a model of the popular Apple mobile phone earlier this month.
Sun's company, Foxconn, was licensed to produce the iPhone in one of its factories in Guanlan, Shenzhen, local media reported.
Sun, who graduated from the renowned Harbin Institute of Technology last year, was reportedly responsible for the final packing of a shipment of 16 iPhones at his company.
One of the phones was found missing when he handed over the products to their receivers from Apple on July 10.
Sun reported the incident to his supervisor three days later after he could not find the sample phone. Foxconn's environment and safety department subsequently launched an internal investigation into the case.
On July 16, Sun jumped to his death from the 12th floor of a residential building, local media reported.
He had his last online chat with former university classmates just three hours before, with his final post seen on a popular Chinese Internet forum.
In it, Sun wrote that the investigation over the missing iPhone was "one of the most humiliating experiences" of his life.
Sun's girlfriend, who came to visit him just three days before his death, said some colleagues at Foxconn searched his home on the afternoon before his suicide, according to a report by Southern Metropolis Daily.
Foxconn spokesman James Lee expressed sorrow and sympathy over Sun's death and apologized to his family yesterday.
"His suicide, for whatever reason, in a way reflects a management defect on the part of Foxconn to some extent especially over the troubles faced by our young employees," Lee told China Daily.
Lee said the department head who had allegedly mistreated Sun in his handling of the case has been suspended from his job, pending investigations by the police.
The police at Bao'an district, where the Foxconn factory is located, said they could not release any details about the case at this stage.
Li Jianyong, a lawyer, said the department chief would be subject to criminal charges if his alleged questioning of Sun over the missing phone was found to be violent.
Liu Feifei, a registered psychologist, said Sun's suicide reflected his fragility in dealing with problems.
"He knew the seriousness of the incident and was frightened to take the responsibility, that's why he chose to kill himself," she said.
According to a reliable source, Sun was born in a poor family in Qujing, Yunnan province, and had not fully paid back his loan to his university.