Mob scene breaks out at Lush store as distributor shuts down
Fri, Apr 16, 2010
The China Post/Asia News Network
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taiwan distributor of hand-made soap brand Lush closed operations Wednesday, with creditors and employees of one of Lush's Taipei stores making a scene that day, fighting for the various products left over at the store.
Yeh Chang-lu, chairman of Lush's Taiwan distributor, closed 28 retail points island-wide Friday, due to financial trouble. Tuesday evening, he announced the company's closing of business, and said the company's goods may be transferred to employees to make up for their salaries.
Wednesday morning, workers of Lush's retail point on Zhongxiao East Road offered a 50 percent discount on Lush goods to get as much as cash as they could.
Then, in the afternoon, officials from creditor Hua Nan Bank showed up, accompanied by Taipei District Court officials and police, trying to confiscate products at the store.
The situation soon turned into a mob scene, in which store employees, Hua Nan officials as well as shoppers taking advantage of the discount fought for goods.
"The bank is a victim, but we are victims as well," said a store worker.
The incident ended at around 6 p.m. Wednesday. As it turned out, Hua Nan confiscated over NT$10 million worth of products and cash at 28 Lush retailers throughout Taiwan.
According to some employees, Lush Taiwan distributor's financial troubles began two years ago, when the company delayed payments to employees or gave them half pay.
It has been rumored that Yeh had attempted suicide by burning coal before the Lunar New Year. His whereabouts are still unknown at this point.
Yeh's story had been a legendary one. Raised in the rural areas of Taiwan, he had neither a good education nor upbringing. Yet, the man had ambition, perseverance and was industrious. He worked hard and used his afternoon break time to study English and Japanese.
His efforts paid off. In 2000 he founded a company, which got the distribution rights to Lush the following year.