by Xinhua writers Bai Xu and Shen Yang
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.