Woman finds Chinese prisoner's ID card inside lining of her coat
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Featured Image Credit: Grace Cary/Getty Images
A Derbyshire woman was shocked to discover what appeared to be a Chinese worker's prisoner ID in the lining of her new Regatta coat.
The process of buying a new coat is pretty simple. The worst thing that could go wrong is generally things like if there are minor tears, an inconspicuous stain or it doesn’t match your outfits.
Never would you think that there would be a Chinese prisoner’s ID card in the lining of it.
However, when a woman purchased her Regatta coat online during the Black Friday sale, she was shocked to find that there was something hard in the right sleeve.
After cutting the coat to remove it, she discovered what looked to be a prison identification card, with a mugshot included.
Apparently, the man in the photo was wearing a prisoner’s uniform in front of a height chart, and the name of the prison in China clearly visible.
The card was found inside a plastic holder with the words, ‘produced by the Ministry of Justice prisons bureau’ on it.
Regatta has since said their investigation suggests the ID belonged to an employee who spent time in prison prior to being employed at one of Regatta's Chinese factories, where he was paid a full wage.
The woman told The Guardian: “You don’t expect it from [Regatta]. It’s a UK brand that’s up there with Next, with M&S, that you put your children in their clothes … and this happens, and it just makes you feel really uneasy and uncomfortable.”
After finding the strange item, she went on to contact Regatta’s customer service agent online and sent a photograph of the ID card.
According to the woman, the agent wrote back: “Wow, that is a first.”
But when asked whether this was a prison card, they responded: “No, it is a Chinese work ID, from our factory site over in China. But you are right, it look[s] like a prison id.”
She was then instructed to dispose of the ID, but was later emailed by the company and told to return it with the coat.
A spokesperson for Regatta told UNILAD: "Regatta Ltd. refutes the implication that we use forced prison labour.
"Regatta Ltd. took the incident reported to us by a customer very seriously and an immediate investigation commenced.
"As a business and members of the Ethical Trading Initiative, we have strict policies in place to ensure ethical working standards for all, and zero tolerance for forced or prison labour.
"Following a thorough investigation, we can state that this garment was made in a fully compliant factory and that numerous inspections of the factory, including a certified third-party visit to the site, found no breaches of any of our policies.
"Our investigation has found credible evidence that points towards this being an isolated incident by an employee who had spent time in prison before his employment with the factory.
"Our investigation showed no indicators that prison labour were present in the factory at any time.
"From the limited images shared by the customer it is perceived that the ID is dated 2022.
"Regatta Ltd. has payroll documentation from the manufacturer to show the person pictured on the ID was an employee who received a full wage during the time he was employed by the factory from March 2023 – June 2023 .
"The individual had an employment contract with the factory and was not working under forced or prison conditions. The garment in question was produced during the individual’s employment and shipped from the factory in July 2023 (one month after the individual’s employment ceased). The factory records show that the employee was dismissed for poor behaviour.
"Following our investigation, we can confirm that the ID is not related to or issued by the factory. Without verifying the ID in question, we cannot comment on its nature until it is returned, or more detailed photos are shared with us.
"We are continuing to investigate how the item came to be sewn into the garment.
"Regatta Ltd. continues to work closely with suppliers to maintain high standards. If it is found that any policies have been breached by our supply chain at any time, we will take strong and swift action.
"Regatta Ltd. has taken advice from the Ethical Trading Initiative in relation to this matter and ETI is supporting us in our ongoing commitment to ethical trading practices. "
Peter McAllister, Executive Director, Ethical Trading Initiative said: “Regatta has been an active member of ETI since 2012 and fully understand their responsibilities with respect to workers in their supply chain.
"Regatta alerted us to the situation of alleged prison labour at one of the factories producing for them in China.
"They have undertaken the steps we would expect to investigate this allegation and gather evidence to determine what the situation is at the factory.
"We know that Regatta takes this allegation seriously and we will work with them to ensure the situation is clear and any needed action is taken.”