Chinese Female Workers Sue South Korean Factory for Body Search

China News Digest, 26 August 2001

[CND, 08/26/01] A group of female workers in a Shenzhen wig factory launched a lawsuit against the management for allegedly being body searched at work, the China Daily reported on Saturday.

The Longgang District Court in Shenzhen opened the hearing on the case on Friday. Present at the court were 56 female workers from the South Korean owned factory, management staff, 19 witnesses, and over a hundred observers.

The management suspected theft of wig material by workers and ordered a body search of the workers. Lee Hong-kwang, a Korean manager who spoke at the hearing said that the management conducted the search appropriately by keeping the workers' aprons around their waists. He also claimed that none of the workers were asked to take off their shirts or pants.

The workers contradicted his story, claiming that they were ordered to take off not only shirts and pants, and also underwear. We felt awfully humiliated by being touched all over our bodies, especially before several male managers, one of the workers said.

The search failed to find any stolen wig, admitted the management. However, the management found some knives hidden under the work tables, and the weight of all the wig materials was slightly heavier than when they were first received by the workers.

The workers are demanding 30,000 yuan (US$3,600) each in compensation from the factory. The factory said that it is willing to pay each worker a maximum of 4,000 yuan (US$481.9). (Dong LIU)