A note found in Dublin in October 2015 appears to be from the same man, who claims to have been held prisoner and tortured
A note allegedly from a worker in a Chinese factory, who claims to have been falsely imprisoned and tortured, has been found in a sock in a Primark store in the UK.
It is the latest in a series of similar notes. Several of those notes, including a note found in Dublin earlier this year, tell the story of a man falsely imprisoned by local officials and forced to work in a factory in China’s Anhui province - with his family members also imprisoned and tortured.
Primark have today told Newstalk they are investigating the incident and take such claims seriously. In a statement the company’s spokesperson twice raised the possibility this may be a hoax, and that the company have previously been subjected to such hoaxes.
The note, found in a Huddersfield Primark store, is the fourth such note found in recent times, with Newstalk reporting in October on one found in Dublin.
“Primark has had hoaxes of this type before, but we take this very seriously and are investigating,” Primark told Newstalk.
The company say they have asked "repeatedly" for the product, packaging and receipt in which the note was found but have not been given them and as such the claism "cannot be corroborated."
"Unfortunately, without this information we cannot investigate," they said.
“The standards in its supply chain are very important to Primark, and we work hard to ensure our products are made in good working conditions, and that the people making them are treated properly and paid a fair wage.
“Whilst we have been the subject of a number of hoaxes, we will always investigate the allegation.”
The clothing giant also notes that they require manufacturers to stick to their “strict Code of Conduct, as a condition of doing business.” The company say they carry out frequent inspections of suppliers and employ a large team of inspectors in source countries to oversee the work.
Primark say that in 2014 they conducted 2,412 inspections and audits of suppliers.
The Huddersfield letter has been translated by users on Reddit, and reads:
"My name is [withheld]. I am a 39-year-old man. I live in China, Anhui Province, Lingbi County, Damiao Town, Shatan Village, No. 6 Group.
Because I went to Beijing to report corrupt officials in person, on 29 June 2014, I was framed by the Damiao Town government leaders for "extortion." I have since been shut in the Lingbi County jail. I have suffered great mental torment.
My wife was forcibly locked up in a mental hospital, and both she and I have been crippled by injury! On 22 May 2014, my father was murdered in the Damiao hospital!
Please, anyone who reads this letter, please pass this letter on to our country's leader Chairman Xi Jinping, and through the media bring these things to light! Thank you!!!
Local corrupt officials have no law and no heaven. They publicly oppose the central government's policies, satisfying their superiors but deceiving the public. They cover up the truth of things. They painstakingly arrange schemes to manufacture false charges!
I resolutely support the Chinese Communist Party's central leadership and Chairman Xi Jinping's honest, people-loving good government!
Seeker of Help: [withheld]
24 June 2014, jail"
In October 2015 Newstalk reported on a note found in the Mary Street Penney’s in Dublin. A shopper found it hidden in a sock.
The note shares many details with the note found in Huddersfield.
It was purportedly from a 39-year-old man, also in Lingbi County in the Anhui Province of China. The man spoke of being falsely imprisoned by local officials, with he and his wife tortured.
“I was falsely accused and framed by the public security leadership of the Lingbi County Government for going to Beijing to report corrupt officials to the state leaders using my real name,” the note said.
"I have been illegally and forcibly detained in the Lingbi County Detention Centre (Prison) since then and suffered from serious torture and persecution. I have been maimed."
Other notes have been found in similar circumstances in Primark stores, and with similar stories of a 39-year-old man in Lingbi alleging false imprisonment.
In 2014 a note was found inside clothing purchased in the Belfast Primark store and also told of workers forced to work 15 hours a day to make clothes.
In October Primark told Newstalk they had conducted an unannounced inspection of the factory mentioned in the note Newstalk reported on. They said they found “a contented workforce and no forced labour.”