TODAY

TODAY   |  June 27, 2013

American CEO freed from captivity in China

After being held captive by workers in his own factor for a week, American CEO Chip Starnes is free to head home after striking a deal with his employees. NBC’s Eunice Yoon reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> let us begin this half hour with new developments in the story we've been following. the american ceo held captive in a chinese factory -- his factory -- freed overnight. cnbc's eunice eun is in beijing. good morning to you.

>> reporter: the story reads like a movie script. after he secured his release from the factory he jumped from one car to another before boarding a plane out of here. american ceo chip starnes has said good-bye to his defacto prison in china after being held captive by his factory workers here for a week starnes is on a plane back home to the u.s. the two sides finally struck a deal. more workers get payouts. starnes no longer needs to live under constant surveillance. but he was threatened by a vendor and fearing for his personal safety fled. in a text message to me he said, i was, let's say, threatened this morning. i freaked out. starnes says he was being held because of rumors he was about to close his entire plant. he said he only planned to move part of the business to india. rumors maybe, but chinese workers have little legal recourse, and are used to losing out. factory bosses in china sometimes do flee without giving their workers pay. so these workers didn't want the same thing to happen to them. over the phone, starnes wrote, deal was done and all employees were paid. a chinese union official told me international companies are welcome here. but with wages rising, chinese laborers are starting to compete with cheaper workers from other countries. just as american workers lost jobs to china. i feel numb this worker says. we will continue to fight. as for chip starnes, his fight is finally over. and, matt, i'm sure his family is going to be very excited to see him once he gets back home.

>> youneunice, do you have any idea about his future plans? does he plan to go back to the country and is all kind of forgiven between him and the employees?

>> reporter: i'm not so sure if everything is all well and good and forgiven, but at the same time, he is going to keep his factory here. he said that as of tomorrow any of the workers who got those payouts will be able to reapply for their jobs and get the factory up and running again.

>> in beijing this morning, eunice, thank you very much.