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Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on February 22, 2010
“Misleading and twisted.” That’s what Taiwanese electronics giant Hon Hai Precision is saying about coverage of a conflict with some workers at a factory in Mexico owned by its Foxconn Technology Group. Hon Hai spokesman Edmund C.A. Ding today released a statement saying that buses that usually transport workers back from the Foxconn Juarez Santa Teresa campus at the end of the night shift didn’t show up on Feb. 19. The statement said 30 people in the waiting area covered their faces with bandanas and started “spreading malicious rumors of how Foxconn would not give overtime pay for late bus to agitate the crowd.” The workers tried to prevent the bus from reaching the campus, the statement continues, and employees started a fire in a community center. The company said the incident had been planned in advance by a former employee with a “personal score to settle.” Foxconn says it will pursue legal action against the former employee only, and not any other workers involved.
As it has done in the past, Hon Hai also is targeting the media. “The Group will take legal action against any malicious manipulation of media to spread erroneous rumor to cause harm to the Group,” the statement says. Hon Hai has shown that it’s not shy about going after reporters. In 2006, the company sued two Chinese journalists for defamation, only to withdraw the suit following a storm of criticism from the Chinese blogosphere. That strategy didn’t work in a country not exactly known for being media friendly, though. We’ll see whether it fares any better in Mexico.
BusinessWeek’s team of Asia reporters brings you the latest insights on business, politics, technology and culture from some of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economies. Eye on Asia’s bloggers include Asia regional editor Bruce Einhorn, Tokyo reporter Ian Rowley, Korea bureau chief Moon Ihlwan, Asia News Editor and China Bureau Chief. Dexter Roberts, and Hong Kong-based Asia correspondent Frederik Balfour.