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September 11, 2009

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Wal-Mart 'saddened' by customer beating death

WAL-MART said yesterday it was "deeply saddened" that a customer was allegedly beaten to death by at least two of its employees in east China's Jiangxi Province after being accused of shoplifting.

In the announcement, Wal-Mart said "an altercation occurred between Wal-Mart asset protection employees and a 37-year-old female store visitor." The visitor was taken for hospital treatment the same day, and she died two days later.

The company said it was "fully cooperating" with authorities.

A police report on Tuesday said the victim, Yu Xiaochun of Jingdezhen City, was allegedly beaten to death by five people who accused her of shoplifting at a Wal-Mart supermarket.

Two of the five, males surnamed Liu and Yu who were Wal-Mart employees, were arrested. The other three were being investigated.

The victim's older sister, Yu Meichun, said the family had reached a preliminary agreement with Wal-Mart over compensation. The supermarket offered the victim's relatives 500,000 yuan (US$64,103), including 50,000 for funeral expenses and 450,000 yuan as an allowance for her child.

The victim's older brother, Yu Rongsheng, said he hoped the police could carry out an autopsy as soon as possible and that he would sue those responsible for his sister's death.

"My sister had always been healthy and she was definitely beaten to death by the thugs," he said.

He said his sister had the receipt from the store, and the items on the receipt was the same as those in her possession. The receipt and the goods she bought were both taken away by police, who did not comment on the shoplifting allegation.

Yu was stopped on her way home on August 30, when a man who identified himself as a Wal-Mart employee and four others demanded to see her receipt, according to media reports. The woman showed them the receipt but refused to give it to them.

The five people reportedly began beating her after the dispute, despite the attempts of passersby and her relatives to stop them. The attack was in a street hundreds of meters from the supermarket, according to report by China Youth Daily.


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