Attackers Put FTU Factory Chief in Hospital

Marking the latest attack against a member of the outspoken Free Trade Union, four men armed with sticks and knives attacked an FTU activist Thursday, beating him in the head and slicing his nose, officials said.

Keo Sokun, union chief at New Minda Co Ltd garment factory, said four men beat him in the head with their fists and with sticks, and one sliced his nose with a knife. Still speaking with difficulty Sunday, Keo Sokun said he planned to file a complaint today with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, accusing the four assailants of attempted murder.

Chuop Sok Heng, deputy police chief of Dangkao district, said two of the assailants were arrested and sent to the municipal court Sunday; police are still searching for the other two men, who fled the scene.

Chuop Sok Heng said he did not know what had motivated the attack, though had suspicions: “It was a personal dispute. It takes two hands to clap,” he said.

FTU President Chea Mony said Keo Sokun had been agitating for better working conditions and higher wages and, on the day of the attack, had also received a threat from a member of the rival Cam­bodia Union Federation.

“This was a failed attempt at murder,” Chea Mony said, adding that the two men who were caught had “confessed they had been hired to kill Keo Sokun.”

Three FTU members have been killed in recent years in what appear to be anti-union slayings.

Chuom Mon Thol, president of the Cambodian Union Federation, said the attack on Keo Sokun was a private dispute.

“They had a fight amongst themselves,” he said, adding that the FTU, which is affiliated with the Sam Rainsy Party, often makes accusations against his union, which is affiliated with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling CPP.

Chan Soveth, Adhoc’s chief in­vestigator, said that he had drawn no conclusions regarding the motivation for the attack, as police would not allow him to interview the two suspects.

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