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Foxconn: 11 hurt in 'personal' fights between workers

It all kicked off after booze-ridden bash, claims manufacturer

Workers in a Foxconn plant, credit: Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA

Eleven Foxconn workers were hurt after a "large fight" broke out among them near the Nintendo, Dell and Nokia supplier's factory last week, the firm has confirmed.

Between 300 and 400 people joined in with the ruckus on Thursday evening, which took place in the eastern city of Yanta after what Foxconn described as a gathering where alcohol was consumed in celebration of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival.

Over the weekend, rumours spread that three people had been killed in the riots, but Foxconn strongly denied the claim and no other reliable source has confirmed this.

An amateur video posted on sina.com.cn has been circulating on Twitter which shows a man lying injured on the floor and a large group of men wielding sticks. A large group of police officers then move in and attempt to pacify the crowd, before whomever is holding the camera retreats to safety. However, the connection between this video and the worker unrest has not been pinned down, nor has the vid been verified.

Two days later, the rival groups apparently met again and began hurling abuse at each other. However, there was no subsequent violence.

Foxconn told the Wall Street Journal that the fight was "of a personal nature". It is currently working with law enforcement agencies to establish what happened and identify the instigators.

More than 2,000 people rioted a year ago.

Foxconn factories have been the backdrop of widely publicised worker suicides and even reports that some of them were prostituting themselves to earn more cash. There have been a number of strikes in the past year.

"Large-scale fights simply do not break out at well-run factories with a contented and well-paid workforce," said Geoff Crothall, a spokesman for China Labour Bulletin, a Hong Kong-based workers' group which keeps an eye on Foxconn.

Foxconn is famous for making Apple products and also works to build tech for Nintendo, Sony and Hewlett-Packard, among others. ®

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