Former Foxconn Exec Faces 10-Year Prison Sentence For Stealing 5,700 iPhones

Some people take “swiping” a little too seriously. A former senior manager at the Taiwanese corporation Foxconn has been indicted for stealing and selling 5,700 iPhones in China. It is estimated that the manager, identified by his family name Tsai, pocketed $50 million TWD ($1.56 million USD) during his escapades.

Tsai worked in a testing department in Foxconn factory in the southern mainland Chinese city of Shenzhen. Tsai and his eight accomplices sold thousands of test iPhone 5/iPhone 5s smartphones to stores in Shenzhen between 2013 and 2014. These phones were initially supposed to be scrapped.


Foxconn reported the missing phones after an internal audit last year. Tsai was questioned earlier this year when he returned to Taiwan and released on bail. He has since been charged with breach of trust and will potentially serve ten years in prison.

This is also not the first whiff of scandal from Foxconn. The company has experienced labor unrest, has covered up a number of employee suicides, and has been accused of employing underage interns at its Chinese plants. In 2014, five former Foxconn employees were charged with breach of trust. The former employees allegedly solicited $160 million TWD (roughly $5 million USD) in kickbacks from suppliers in for clearing checks and buying equipment.


Foxconn, otherwise known as Hon Hai Precision, is the largest contract electronics maker in the world. It assembles products for corporations such as Sony and Apple, and employs roughly one million people throughout China. The company replaced 60,000 human workers with robot workers in Kunshan, Jiangsu, China this past Spring.

United States President Elect Donald Trump hopes to bring the manufacturing and money that companies like Apple usually doll out to Foxconn, back to the United States. He stated, “Take a look at our trade deals. These deals are the worst. We're gonna lose $500 billion [in] trade deficits with China. With Japan, [it's] $100 billion. We're talking about a year... Then they say, 'Well Trump doesn't believe in free trade.' No, I want free trade, but I want it to be like, at least we break even.” Apple is reportedly conducting a feasibility study to see whether they could reasonable produce and assemble all of the products in the United States.