Shahkiel Akbar, 25, found the note after buying socks from Newcastle store
Note alleged man had been framed for blackmail and tortured in prison
Primark insists the company has found several notes and it is a hoax
Another man found a similar letter in socks in Huddersfield last week
By Steph Cockroft
Primark shopper Shahkiel Akbar found a distressing letter inside a pair of socks which claimed to be from a Chinese torture victim
A Primark shopper found a distressing letter inside a pair of socks which claimed to be from a Chinese torture victim.
Shahkiel Akbar discovered the note hidden in the black cotton-rich socks which he bought from the budget chain’s store in the Metrocentre, Newcastle.
When he translated the note into English, Mr Akbar found what appeared to be a desperate cry for help from a man who claims to have been tortured after being framed for blackmail and fraud.
Primark insists the company has found notes through the UK and that is part of a hoax.
Mr Akbar said: ‘I knew it was something sinister when I saw it. I was really shocked. I do feel responsible now I have found this. I just thought I need to shout it out.’
After finding the letter, Mr Akbar, 24, took it to his local Chinese takeaway to see if staff could translate it for him. When the owner said he was Korean and could not read Chinese, Mr Akbar used an app on the phone to translate the words into English.
The letter purported to be from a man called Ding Tingkun from Anhui province.
The letter read: ‘I was falsely accused and set up for fraud and blackmail by and illegally sentenced on June 29, 2014, by Lingbi County People’s Court for three years in jail.
‘At present I am forcefully detained at Lingbi County detention centre. My body and mind have been subjected to extreme torture and damage
‘Whoever sees this letter, please give it to national government leader President Xi Jingping, Premier Li Keqiang or expose this through a journalist or media’
He also added: ‘My wife and I have both been made paralysed.’
Mr Akbar, from Fenham, Newcastle, said: ‘It was an SOS from a 39-year-old man living in China. From the words I could translate you could see he was distressed.
‘It seemed like he was risking a lot to try and get a message out. He said he had endured physical and psychological abuse and that he was forced to make these socks. It felt like a real burden to me.’
Last week, another Primark customer also claimed her father had found a similar note after buying a pair of socks from a store in Huddersfield.
The letter, written in Mandarin on Chinese brand Ruitai paper, claims to be from a 39-year-old prisoner called Ting Kun Ding from Anhui Province.
The letter, which was inside a pair of socks (pictured), purported to be from a man called Ding Tingkun from Anhui province
It said: ‘Due to the corruption of my local government, I was accused of ‘kidnapping’ on June 29 and have been in a prison until this day.
‘My wife is locked up in a mental institute. On May 22 2014, my dad was murdered in a hospital.
‘Whoever is reading this, I hope you can pass this message to our President Xi Jinping through the media.’
A Primark spokesman says the retailer believes its products are being hijacked by someone trying to gain publicity and the letter has nothing to do with its staff or suppliers.
He said: ‘The Primark name is being used to gain publicity for the plight of this individual. We have found no link at all between this individual and any of our suppliers’ factories in China.
‘We think it is likely that the note was added after production and it is feasible it was added in transit or at a port.’
Last June, Karen Wisinska, 28, said she discovered the plea for help from a sweatshop worker inside khaki three-quarter length trousers she bought for £10 at a store in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.
The handwritten note, which she said she found in 2011 and passed on to Amnesty International, claims the labourer had worked his fingers ‘to the bone’.
Headlined ‘SOS SOS SOS’ with the main text in Mandarin symbols, it reads: ‘We are inmates of the Hubei Xiangna Prison, working on clothing lines for export over a long period of time.’
‘MY WIFE AND I HAVE BOTH BEEN MADE PARALYSED’: LETTER OF ‘TORTURE VICTIM’ IN FULL
My name is Ding Tingkun, male, 39. Address: Anhui province, Suzhou City, Lingbi County, Damiao Township, Shatan Village, Sixth Collective.
Because I went to Beijing, to report truthfully to national government leaders about corrupt police officials abandoning their positions and openly protecting mafia gangs and criminals, I was falsely accused and set up for fraud and blackmail by Lingbi County, Damiao Township police station leaders Gu Min, Jiang Guangzhao etc. and illegally sentenced on June 29, 2014, by Lingbi County People’s Court for three years in jail.
Afterwards, I appealed to Suzhou City Mid-level People’s Court.
On May 19, 2015, Suzhou City Mid-level People’s Court declared: Lingbi County People’s Court’s decision has been overturned. The details are unclear and there’s not enough evidence. The case is to be reassessed.
At present I am forcefully detained at Lingbi County detention centre. My body and mind have been subjected to extreme torture and damage
Whoever sees this letter, please give it to national government leader President Xi Jingping, Premier Li Keqiang or expose this through a journalist or media
My wife and I have both been made paralysed.
Source of plea: Ding Tingkun
June 22, 2015, Ling County
Published: 21 December 2015