FOSHAN, Guangdong: A government task force has been established here to investigate the disappearance of the owner and managers of Taiwan-funded firm Megaforce Shunde Co Ltd, and to provide support and assistance for its workers, an official said on Wednesday.
"The task force has provided accommodation for 2,300 employees (who lived in dormitories at the factory) and is offering them support, while it tries to persuade the boss of the company to come back," Liang Guofeng, director of the Lunjiao labor department in the Shunde district of Foshan, told China Daily.
"We are preparing for the worst and are seeking ways to deal with the payment of employees' wages for June," he said.
"We are also accelerating the process of labor arbitration to resolve wage and compensation issues."
Liang said he had spoken to factory boss Zeng Donglai over the telephone, but did not know his exact whereabouts.
"We have been in contact with him and he said he will return once he has raised more funds," he said.
If Zeng does not return by July 20 - payday - the company's assets will be auctioned off in accordance with the law on payment and compensation, Liang said, adding that he thought Zeng was probably in Taiwan.
Wang Fuhua, an official with the Shunde labor and social security bureau, said: "The case affects more than 2,300 employees, so the bureau has launched an emergency plan to deal with it.
"The workers have been fairly calm, but we are working on a solution to the problem, and will do all we can to ensure their rights are protected," he said.
Authorities were alerted to the fact Zeng and the management team of Megaforce Shunde, a computer peripherals firm set up in 1997 by Taiwan-listed Everskill Technology Co Ltd, were missing on Monday morning, when workers at the factory were reported to be looting the premises, while others blocked off the street.
Police and labor officials were dispatched to investigate and soon brought the situation under control, Liang said.
Employee Chen Wei said: "The company always paid us on time before, and they even hired new staff last week. I don't know why the boss would just abandon the factory all of a sudden."
"Some people have said he has lost a lot of money on the stock market in the past six months. But I don't know if that's true or not."