Bosses jailed for wage defaults for debtors
By Chen Hong (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-01-14 05:28
SHENZHEN: Eight company executives in this southern city of South China's
Guangdong Province have been jailed for up to one month for failing to pay
suppliers and workers.
It is the first time on the Chinese mainland that defaulters have been
subject to criminal prosecutions.
In the absence of any specific laws, the local public security bureau charged
them with fraud and related economic offences.
Ma Hongbing, an official from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security,
said the practice could be followed in the rest of the country to better protect
labourers' rights, according to a report by the Southern Metropolis News.
The National People's Congress the country's supreme legislature is studying
whether to list the crime of payment defaults as an offence in the country's
Criminal Law, Ma was quoted as saying.
The eight executives, including two people from Hong Kong, were convicted at
an open trial on Thursday.
According to the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau, the accused withheld many
details from investigators and frequently changed company names to try to avoid
In total, they failed to pay more than 41 million yuan (US$5.06 million) to
at least 350 suppliers, and more than 7 million yuan (US$863.131) to 1,200
Another 30 companies were named and received public condemnation during the
same hearing. Bosses were requested to go to the local labour departments to
resolve the problems within 30 days, or face civil prosecution.
"The event rang alarm bells for all bosses who default on wages, and it has
shown the local government will deal a heavy blow to them," Jin Yongquan, a
senior lawyer at Jin & Partners, told China Daily.
However, without clear legal stipulations for default, the workers' benefits
can hardly be protected to the full, he added.
Wage defaulting is increasing ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year which falls
on January 29 with large groups of migrant labourers trying to get their wages
before heading home for family reunions.
In Shenzhen, about 1,300 companies were fined a total of 47.6 million yuan
(US$5.87 million) for defaulting wages last year, according to local labour
department figures. Workers got back 290 million yuan (US$35.8 million) with
help from labour departments.