An investigation revealed that a factory in Shenzhen allegedly hired child labourers to produce promotional toys for McDonald's. The children were working 16 hours a day earning 1.50 yuan (HK$1.39) an hour. The factory, City Toys, in Shajing, Shenzhen, is a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Pleasure Tech Holdings. It is contracted by a McDonald's supplier to produce toys including Snoopy and Hello Kitty which are sold with McDonald's meals. An investigation conducted by the South China Morning Post revealed that about 400 children as young as 14 packed toys for McDonald's, working from 7 am till midnight for 24 yuan (about HK$23) a day. Responding to the allegation, McDonald's issued a statement claiming it had a strict code of practice governing labour rights - including a clause outlawing child labour - and carried out periodic audits to prevent breaches of the code. The Post also found youths living in crowded dormitories next to the factory who said they only had one or two days off each month and old films shown at the factory was their only entertainment. Labour group Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee visited the factory and said it was exploiting workers. The group estimated that more than 400 out of about 2,000 workers were underage. According to the group's researcher Parry Leung Pak-nang, youths aged under 16 were forbidden to work in the mainland. The factory had breached the labour ordinance on minimum wage and age. Mr Leung said the minimum wage was 419 yuan a month in Shajing for employees who worked eight hours a day, five days a week. The Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee said a series of mass lay-offs was under way after the allegation at the City Toys factory and four nearby affiliate factories. Some sacked workers claimed they had been drilled on how to answer questions from the McDonald's investigation team. The underage workers, estimated to make up about 20 per cent of the workforce, had used fake ID cards to get the jobs. Mr Leung believed the factory knew they were using forged ID cards as the workers looked very young. Labour body Asia Monitor Resource Centre said it was common for people to use fake ID cards to get work. The problem exists in small rural firms and big factories run by transnational enterprises, said May Wong Yuet-may, the group's project co-ordinator. Many children from poor provinces such as Sichuan, Guizhou, Henan and Hunan wanted to work in Shenzhen or Dongguan as there were more jobs available, Ms Wong said. She said the firms knew that children used fake IDs sometimes, even the district government helped the firms to cover up. McDonald's conducted an investigation into the incident and production at the Shenzhen factory has been halted.