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Chip Starnes, American boss locked in Beijing factory over pay dispute, set free

Chip Starnes, the American boss detained nearly a week by his company’s Chinese workers at a Beijing factory over a pay dispute, has been released.

Chip Starnes beijingEnlarge
US businessman Chip Starnes stands behind the bars of his office window after being held hostage for five days over a wage dispute at his Specialty Medical Supplies factory in Huairou, Beijing on June 25, 2013. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Chip Starnes, the American boss held hostage at a Beijing factory for nearly a week over a pay dispute with his company’s Chinese workers, has been released.

Starnes and a labor union official reached an agreement overnight, according to the BBC.

The workers at the factory run by Florida-based Specialty Medical Supplies in the capital's Huairou district claimed not to have been paid for two months.

When they saw equipment being packed and itemized for shipping to India, they believed the entire factory was shutting down, the South China Morning Post wrote.

That's when they locked Starnes into the factory.

Labor disputes in Chinese factories are common, and local police did not intervene in the matter, saying it was a civil dispute.

Starnes, who co-owns the business, said the experience was "humiliating" and "embarrassing."

He told reporters he had lost 9 pounds during the ordeal.

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