Wal-Mart Workers Beat Customer To Death

(Jiangxi 2 TV news video, in Chinese)


(Apple Daily)  September 7, 2009.

At around 7pm on August 30, 37-year-old Yu Xiaochun went to make purchases at the Wal-Mart supermarket in Jingdezhen Plaza.  When she walked out of the supermarket, she was followed by four male and one female Wal-Mart employees.  They accosted her outside.  A male employee demanded that she show her receipt to them, so she showed it to him.  Since they were not in uniform, she began to suspect that they may not be employees of Wal-Mart and therefore she took her receipt back.  A dispute occurred which led to a physical altercation in which the five assaulted her.

According to information, the eyewitnesses at the scene did not intervene beyond advising the five to stop.  When Yu Xiaochun's relatives found out and rushed to the scene, she already was lying on the ground and coughing out blood.  The relatives called the police even as they got down on their knees to implore the five employees to stop hitting her and rendering medical help instead.  The five ignored the pleas of the family and refused to help.  When the police showed up, the five fled scene.  The relatives put Yu Xiaochun into the police car which sped to the hospital.  At the hospital, the doctors told the family that Yu was in critical condition.  She passed away on September 2.  The police have apprehended the five Wal-Mart employees, two of whom have already been placed under criminal detention.

It has been more than one week since the incident took place.  Wal-Mart has given no explanation to the family of Yu Xiaochun.  Her husband Chen Baolin is extremely angry over this.  The elder brother of Yu Xiaochun pointed out that when the family met with the police to receive an update, nobody from Wal-Mart bothered to show up.  The person in charge of this Wal-Mart store has made no comment on the matter on the grounds that he needs directions from the Shenzhen (China) and USA headquarters.

The failure so far of Wal-Mart to make a public statement on the case has infuriated the citizens of Jingdezhen.  Citizens believe that as a top 500 corporation in the world and an international brand trusted by people, Wal-Mart should be able to perform better in customer service.  Supermarket employees should not be assaulting a customer, much less beating her to death.

(China Daily)  Wal-Mart workers beat buyer to death.  September 7, 2009.

A woman suspected of stealing in the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province was beaten to death by workers of the market and two suspects have been arrested, local police said last Tuesday.

On the night of Aug 30, Yu Xiaochun was followed by five workers after purchase at the supermarket as they suspected she stole goods from the market. The Wal-Mart workers stopped her and demanded the receipt. But they were refused because Yu noticed they did not wear the market's uniform. Then a quarrel and fight began. Yu fell on the ground after being beaten by the Wal-Mart workers.

She was sent to Jingdezhen First Hospital that night but was announced to be dead on early morning of Sept 2. Two Wal-Mart workers surnamed Liu and Yu have been formally arrested and the investigation is still underway. Wan Renjin, a police officer of Zhoulukou police station told China Daily that the family has not reached an agreement on compensation with Wal-Mart.

(China Daily)  Wal-Mart duo arrested for killing shopper.  By Hu Yongqi.  September 8, 2009.

Wal-Mart workers have been accused of bashing a woman to death outside her home because they thought she was a shoplifter. Yu Xiaochun, 37, died after being attacked by five workers outside her home, located 500 meters from a Wal-Mart store in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, on Aug 30, police said.

Police formally arrested a man surnamed Liu and a woman surnamed Yu, who are both employed in the asset protection division. Three other workers were released for unrevealed reasons. The workers reportedly followed the woman because they suspected she had stolen items from the store, according to Jiangxi TV. It has not been revealed whether or not the woman was shoplifting.

Police said the five Wal-Mart workers stopped Yu in the street and demanded to see a receipt for the goods she was carrying. Yu refused because the five workers were not wearing uniforms, police said. An argument broke out between Yu and the workers, who then punched her and caused her to fall to the ground, police said.

At some point, Yu managed to grab her phone and call her family for help. "They started to hit her because she didn't do what they said," said husband Chen Baolin to Jiangxi TV. "I got there and tried to stop them but they kept beating her," he added.

Yu was taken to Jingdezhen First Hospital but died three days later. Police said Yu died from her injuries. Chen said Wal-Mart was responsible for his wife's death. "But they even did not apologize, nor mention any sort of compensation," he said.

Wan Renjin, an officer with Zhoulukou police, told China Daily the family has not reached on any financial agreement. Several calls to Wal-Mart for comment went unanswered Monday.

(Reuters)  China Wal-Mart employees detained in shopper's death.  September 8, 2009.

Two Wal-Mart China employees were detained in southern China following the death of a customer, whom employees followed and pushed to the ground after suspecting her of shoplifting, according to a police website. Yu Xiaochun died last Wednesday, three days after she was injured in a dispute with five Wal-Mart workers after shopping in a Wal-Mart store, the official website for the Jingdezhen city police from southern Jiangxi province said. (www.jdz110.com)

Wal-Mart confirmed that an "incident" occurred near their Jingdezhen store between two security employees and a 37-year old female "visitor," who later died. "The incident and cause of death is the subject of an investigation," said Wal-Mart in a statement. "The company is fully cooperating with the relevant authorities and will release further details as it is appropriate," said the retailing giant.

Five store employees followed Yu and stopped her in the street on suspicion that she had stolen goods while shopping at the Wal-Mart store, the police said in the statement.  Police had formally arrested two of the five, but later released the three others for unknown reasons, the official China Daily reported on Tuesday.

Yu refused to show a receipt to prove she had made the purchases because the Wal-Mart employees were not wearing store uniforms when they confronted her, according to the newspaper. In the ensuing scuffle, Yu was pushed to the ground and injured, it said. Yu's husband complained that Wal-Mart did not apologize or offer any compensation for his wife's death, the newspaper said.

(Huffington Post)  Another Wal-Mart Shoplifter Is Killed.  By Al Norman.  September 8, 2009.

You steal, you die.

That's the international policy apparently at Wal-Mart stores, where reports indicate another alleged shoplifter has died at the hands of a gang of overzealous Wal-Mart workers -- this time in China.

According to the Associated Press report this week, Yu Xiachun, a 37-year-old woman, died 500 yards from the Wal-Mart store in Jiangxi province. Based on the local police report, Yu had exited the store and was on her way home on August 30th when she was surrounded by five Wal-Mart workers, who accused her of shoplifting.

The Wal-Mart workers asked Yu to produce a receipt, which she did. But then Yu tried to take the receipt back -- questioning who the four men and one woman were, because no one was wearing a Wal-Mart uniform. The police say that the Wal-Mart workers fought with Yu, and she was knocked to the ground. She was taken to the hospital, where she died three days later. The police have arrested two of the young Wal-Mart workers who fought with Yu. It is not clear yet what they are being charged with, if anything.

Wal-Mart's domestic 'loss prevention' strategy seems to be one of 'shoot first, ask questions later.' This horrible outcome in China is reminiscent of the equally appalling story from August of 2005, when 30-year-old Stacy Driver, a master carpenter and the father of a two-year-old son, died from a heart attack while lying face down in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Houston, Texas. Driver was pinned down on the burning hot pavement by several Wal-Mart workers who accused him of shoplifting a package of diapers, a pair of sunglasses, a BB gun, and a package of BBs. "When we got there," a paramedic said of the scene, "the man was facedown (in cardiac arrest) with handcuffs behind his back. About 30 people were saying, 'Let him up, it's too hot,' Another employee brought a rug for Driver to lie on, but one of those holding Driver said he was fine where he was. One eyewitness reported, "After about five minutes, (Driver) said, 'I'm dying, I can't breathe, call an ambulance.'" After Driver was handcuffed, the eyewitness said one employee had his knee on the man's neck and others were putting pressure on his back. "Finally the guy stopped moving" and the employees got off him. They wouldn't call an ambulance. "I looked at him and said, 'Hey, he's not breathing,' but one guy told me (Driver) was just on drugs. I told them his fingernails were all gray, and finally they called an ambulance."

Three years later, in December of 2008, another Wal-Mart patron died in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Patrick Donovan, 53, died over $393 in Wal-Mart merchandise, lying face down in the giant retailer's parking lot. Donovan's death came at the hands of three Wal-Mart workers, who wrestled the alleged shoplifter to the ground, where the man died. The Wal-Mart workers and one bystander held Donovan down, while one leaned on his back and another held down his arms and head. The police report says Wal-Mart workers told Donovan to stop fighting, and asked witnesses to call 911. By the time Donovan had stopped struggling, he had died.

Wal-Mart has been very quiet in response to this death in China. All the company has told the media is that "an incident occurred" between two of its "security associates" and a "female visitor." In past incidents, Wal-Mart's corporate office has refused to discuss its procedures for detaining and using force against shoplifting suspects. But here is their policy: Wal-Mart has an entire Loss Prevention Associate Guide. In that guide, it says that employees should "address the shoplifter politely and directly." It says that "reasonable force can be employed if the shoplifter refuses to return (to the store)." The policy goes on to clearly state, "If the situation becomes violent, or is deemed potentially dangerous, you should allow the shoplifter to leave." Wal-Mart Guides don't seem to carry much weight at the local store level.

After the Houston incident in 2005, a spokesman from the National Retail Federation said, "Most retailers have a policy of not going into a chase or getting into a combative fight with someone. Most retailers' policies would say that if a person becomes combative, let them go. You can tell police, and let the police handle the investigation and follow up."

It is only a matter of time before another 'visitor' to Wal-Mart is killed for allegedly shoplifting. In a matter of minutes, Wal-Mart will try, convict, and sentence the visitor to death in their parking lot. This corporation, which boasts that it has squeezed all the inefficiencies out of the supply chain, also has managed to squeeze out its customers' rights to protection under the law, and due process. Wal-Mart's loss prevention team needs to set a higher priority on preventing the loss of life at their stores.

You steal from Wal-Mart, you die.

(Xinhua)  Walmart responds to customer's death in E China.  By Bai Xu and Shen Yang.  September 10, 2009.

Walmart said Thursday it was "deeply saddened" that a customer had allegedly been beaten to death by at least two of its employees after being confronted with a shoplifting accusation in east China's Jiangxi Province. In the announcement Walmart said "an altercation occurred between Walmart asset protection employees and a 37-year-old female store visitor. Later the same day, the visitor was taken to hospital for treatment and, two days later, passed away."

    Ed Chan, CEO of Walmart China said, "Walmart is deeply saddened by this tragedy and we extend our sincere condolences to the family of the deceased." The company said it was "fully cooperating with relevant authorities".

    Yu Xiaochun in Jingdezhen city in Jiangxi was allegedly beaten to death by five people who accused her of shoplifting in a Walmart supermarket, a police report said Tuesday. According to the report on the website of the city's police bureau, two of the five people, both males surnamed Liu and Yu, were Walmart employees and were arrested. The other three, including a woman, were being investigated. But the report did not say whether they were Walmart employees or not.

    The victim's elder sister Yu Meichun told Xinhua that they have reached preliminary consensus with Walmart over compensation. The supermarket offered them 500,000 yuan (about 64,103 U.S dollars), including 50,000 for funeral affairs and 450,000 yuan as an allowance for her child.

    Yu Xiaochun's elder brother Yu Rongsheng hoped that the police could carry out an autopsy as soon as possible, and said he would sue those who beat his sister to death. "My sister had always been healthy and she was definitely beaten to death by the thugs," he said. "She had worked in two small hotels over four years, responsible for cleaning work in 16 rooms. If she had poor health, how could she manage that?" The man said Yu Xiaochun had the receipt from the supermarket, and the items on the receipt was the same as she had. The receipt and the goods she bought were both taken away by police and it was not immediate known whether Yu had shoplifted.

    Yu was stopped on her way home by five people at 7:40 p.m. on Aug. 30. A man who identified himself as a Walmart employee demanded to see her receipt. The woman showed them the receipt, but refused to give it to them because she said they were not wearing the uniform of Walmart and she could not verify their identities. The five people began beating her after the dispute, despite the attempt of some passersby and her relatives who tried to stop them.

    The site was in a street hundreds of meters away from the supermarket, according to report on the website of China Youth Daily.

    Yu Rongsheng said he could not accept the demand for receipt. "Why couldn't the Walmart employees ask for the receipt at the gate of the supermarket? Many customers have the habit of dropping the receipt after they left the supermarket." he said.@

Related Link: Wal-Mart: Violence and Lies  ChinaHush, October 16, 2009.