New York shopper finds note made by Chinese prisoner Cry for help from Chinese prison factory hidden in shopping bag given to woman buying boots in New York department store A shopper buying boots from New York department store Saks Fifth Avenue was left shaking after finding a note from a man claiming to be held unfairly in a Chinese prison factory. The handwritten message began â€œHELP, HELP, HELPâ€ and went on: â€œWe are ill-treated and work like slaves for 13 hours every day producing these bags in bulk in the prison factory." It ended: "Thanks and sorry to bother you." The note was signed Tohnain Emmanuel Njong and accompanied by a passport photograph of a man wearing an orange jacket. Stephanie Wilson, 28, an Australian who lives in Manhattanâ€™s West Harlem, who found the letter after buying Hunter rain boots in Saks Fifth Avenue in September 2012, told DNAinfo New York: "I read the letter and I just shook. I could not believe what I was reading." Miss Wilson passed the message on to the Laogai Research Foundation, a Washington DC non-profit organisation which highlights human rights abuses in Chinese prisons, which in turn turned it over to the Department for Homeland Security to investigate the claim of forced labour. However, a Yahoo email address written on the back of the letter turned out to be defunct and the prisonerâ€™s fate remained a mystery until DNAinfo New York finally tracked him down via social media this month. The Cameroon national, who is now 34, said he had been teaching English in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen when he was arrested in May 2011 and charged with fraud. He denied the charge but was convicted 10 months later and sent to prison in the eastern city of Qingdao, Shandong Province, where he was banned from contact with the outside world and forced to work long hours, sometimes making bags such as the one for Saks Fifth Avenue and at other times manufacturing electrical parts. In total, Mr Njong said, he wrote five letters using a pen and paper given to the prisoners to record their output. "We were being monitored all the time," Mr Njong said. "I got under my bed cover and I wrote it so nobody could see that I was writing anything. "Maybe this bag could go somewhere and they find this letter and they can let my family know or anybody [know] that I am in prison.â€ Finally released after three years and put on a plane back to Cameroon, where his family had assumed he was dead, Mr Njong is now living in Dubai, where he has secured a new teaching post. He said that although the letter did not ultimately help him get out of prison, he was still pleased to learn it had been found. "It was the biggest surprise of my life,â€ he went on. â€œI am just happy that someone heard my cry." Miss Wilson, who works for the human rights organisation Social Accountability International, has yet to speak to Mr Njong but said she thought about his plea every day. â€œThis has been the biggest eye-opener for me,â€ she added. â€œI have never once thought about the people making my shopping bag or other consumable products like the packaging of the food I buy, or the pen I write with or the plastic fork I eat my lunch with.â€ Tiffany Bourre, spokesman for the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) which has a controlling stake in Saks Fifth Avenue, said â€œHBC has a rigorous social compliance program that outlines our zero tolerance policy, which includes forced labour." She confirmed that some paper bags used by the store were made in China, but said she was unable to pin down the source of the one in which the letter was found. The Chinese consulate in New York did not comment. New York shopper finds note made by Chinese prisoner - Telegraph *********************************************************************** One wonders how in such a strict State like China which is so paranoid about any adverse international opinion, can something being exported abroad and that to the US, passed scrutiny.