50 garment factory workers faint in Kompong Cham, reason still unclear

A total of 50 garment factory workers fainted between August 12 and 13 in Kompong Cham province’s Kompong Siem district, and officials say the reason is still unclear.

On August 12, 30 Man Happan factory workers fainted simultaneously around 10 pm and 20 more workers fainted around 2:30 pm the following day, according to Yen Khein, deputy director and worker representative of Freedom Worker Union. After being treated at the district referral hospital, doctors found no apparent cause for the fainting, such as malnutrition or food poisoning, Mr Khein said, adding that most workers believe the fainting was caused by angry spirits.

“Workers believe the superstition that the owner of the factory did not obey and pray to the spirit of the land before using the building,” he said, adding that the building was opened four months ago.

Sok Kea, a doctor for the factory, said that the mass fainting could have been caused by shock.

“The workers had no problems with their health… because the workers were scared and shocked of seeing others faint, it caused them to faint together at the same time,” she said.

Experts investigating the case suspect that the incident could have been caused by the workers breathing in unclean mist sprayed by fans in the building, district police chief Pak Cheat said, adding that the water will be tested for contaminants on Saturday.

When reached by phone on Friday, Day Romin, Man Happan owner, said through an English-speaking factory official that the workers are okay and declined to comment any further on the matter.

(Additional reporting by Joanna Nolasco)


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