Distributor dies after brawl with 2 managers

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Distributor dies after brawl with 2 managers

Two workers in Korea’s leading food producer, Pulmuone Health & Living, have been arrested on manslaughter charges after allegedly beating a local distributor unconscious during an altercation over the conglomerate’s treatment of its retail stores.

The victim passed out after several punches to the face and was sent to a nearby hospital, but died four days later of a brain hemorrhage. Both suspects have admitted their complicity in the attack.

According to briefings from the Suseo Police Precinct, the attack took place Saturday around 1 a.m. when five people linked with Pulmuone gathered in a noraebang (karaoke room) in Gangnam District, southern Seoul. The group had been drinking for several hours.

Two of the workers are part of the headquarters’ retail managing team, one of whom is the team’s captain, aged 42.

The other is a junior staff member, aged 29. They both now face manslaughter charges.

Of the remaining three, the victim was the owner of a Pulmuone retail store in Gangnam, aged 29.

The two others have been identified as sales clerks from another branch.

The dispute, according to police, began when the victim complained that headquarters was mistreating his establishment, prompting the suspects to argue back, which led to a physical fight.

Police said the victim died Wednesday afternoon. Pulmuone has not issued a statement yet.

The latest abuse case in Pulmuone comes just three years after Namyang Dairy Products was mired in a similar controversy, when an audio clip of a phone conversation between a young salesman and a distributor, posted on Youtube, featured the former hurling insults at the retailer and threatening him, telling him to buy more products than he could sell. The video clip has been viewed over 28,000 times.

The Namyang incident led to the company’s CEO apologizing to the public during a widely televised press conference, as consumers formed nationwide boycotts.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN, YUN JUNG-MIN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]
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