An Arizona woman was more than a bit taken aback recently when she discovered a plea for help from an alleged Chinese prisoner that was hidden inside a purse that her mother-in-law had purchased for her from Walmart.
Laura Wallace from Sierra Vista told the local KVOA-TV news station that she had found the tiny note folded up inside one of the purse’s zipper compartments. The letter was written in Chinese. Here’s a full translation:
Inmates in the Yingshan Prison in Guangxi, China are working 14 hours daily with no break/rest at noon, continue working overtime until 12 midnight, and whoever doesn’t finish his work will be beaten. Their meals are without oil and salt. Every month, the boss pays the inmate 2000 yuan, any additional dishes will be finished by the police. If the inmates are sick and need medicine, the cost will be deducted from the salary. Prison in China is unlike prison in America, horse cow goat pig dog (literally, means inhumane treatment).
Explaining that it is unable to verify the origin of the letter, Walmart has said that it cannot comment specifically on the note, but did tell News 4 Tucson that “one of our requirements for the suppliers who supply products for sale at Walmart is all work should be voluntary as indicated in our Standards for Suppliers.”
Similar notes have turned up in clothing items in the past, including in stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and K-Mart. In 2015, a woman discovered a disturbing note inside a pair of socks her father had purchased from the UK department store Primark. In the letter, written in Chinese characters, a man claimed that he was being held hostage after attempting to report some corrupt local officials in Anhui province. He goes on to claim that his wife has been taken to a mental institution and his father killed in a hospital.
Only a few months prior to that, a similar note was found in a sock bought in Dublin at Penneys, which is the name that Primark goes by in Ireland. The note told an identical story of a 39-year-old man from Anhui being imprisoned while his family was tortured.
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