Dozens of Nepalese Workers Missing From Ala. Plant

AP, January 29, 2008

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. About 100 people who came from Nepal to work at a north Alabama factory seemingly vanished from a pair of apartment buildings, along with a lot of furniture and appliances, and can’t be located, officials said Tuesday.

Immigration agents are trying to determine what happened to the Nepalese workers, among hundreds brought to the United States to work at a DVD factory operated by Cinram Inc., said Lauren Bethune, a spokeswoman for the Alabama Department of Homeland Security.

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Cinram’s human resources director, Peter Hassler, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment. But a spokesman for a company that recruited the workers for Cinram said a contact in Nepal believes many of them have returned home.

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Mary and Tim Snopl told the TV station they rented apartments in two buildings last fall to about 240 workers from Nepal. But Mary Snopl said scores of the workers are now missing, along with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of furniture, televisions and kitchenware.

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Wilson said his company was seeking a list of items believed to be missing.

Reports last fall said Cinram had hired about 1,350 foreign workers to package DVDs at its plant in Huntsville. Cinram—which describes itself as the world’s largest maker of pre-recorded multimedia products—said it turned to foreign workers because the area job market couldn’t fill its needs.

Bethune said about 100 immigrants were believed to be missing. Agents are trying to determine exactly what type of visas they used to enter the United States.

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