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Taiwanese iPhone-maker says India factory attacked, looted by 'unknown people'

Twitter videos show people damaging office building, resulting in significant losses

An Indian factory owned by Wistron. 

An Indian factory owned by Wistron.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A day after its iPhone factory in Narsapur, India, was looted in a riot, Taiwan's Wistron (緯創資通股份) issued a statement on Sunday evening (Dec. 13) that the company was appalled by the incident and that it will cooperate with the police investigation.

Known as one of Apple's major suppliers, Wistron produces the iPhone SE, iPhone 7, and iPhone 8. It has been expanding its operations in India this year due to the American push to move factories out of China, media reported. The Taipei-based company is said to have promised investments of INR$13 billion (US$177 million) in the South Asian country.

CNA reported that nearly 2,000 workers gathered Saturday morning (Dec. 12) at Wistron's Kolar plant, where the company assembles iPhones, to accuse Wistron of violating employment contracts by making multiple payroll cuts. The protests escalated into violence, and Twitter videos show people smashing office windows and doors and destroying equipment, causing significant losses.

The Times of India reported that thousands of iPhones were allegedly looted during the chaos. Miscommunication between Wistron, its contractors, and employees was blamed for the incident.

Local authorities condemned the violence, while India TV reported that 132 people have been detained in connection with the riot.

Wistron published a statement saying it was deeply shocked by the incident, which it said "was caused by a mob of outsiders in an unknown attempt to cause damage in the unit." The statement appeared to downplay the rumored labor contract dispute.

The company emphasized that it abides by labor laws and will fully support the authorities' investigation into what happened. It went on to say that it is hurrying to resume operations so as to protect workers' rights and interests.

Updated : 2021-09-25 00:07 GMT+08:00