Beaten Garment Workers File Police Complaints

Three members of the Free Trade Union (FTU) on Thursday filed complaints against members of a rival union for allegedly beating them with bamboo sticks and banana tree branches during a clash outside Phnom Penh’s SH International garment factory on Wednesday morning.

The victims say they were beaten by four members of the Khmer Union Federation of Workers Spirit (KUFWS), including its president, Mum Siek. According to police, the clash broke out when members of the KUFWS protesting the recent firing of 400 employees blocked the way of FTU members who wanted to go inside the factory to work.

The three victims—Keo Seanghai, Lay Sokha and Srey Pov—filed their complaints when Pur Senchey district police visited them at Calmette Hospital, where they are being treated, according to Um Dina, the FTU’s public relations officer.

She said Mr. Seanghai suffered the worst beating, taking blows to the body and a heavy hit to the head. She said Ms. Sokha and Ms. Pov suffered heavy bruising.

“They are each demanding compensation, between $3,000 and $10,000,” she said.

Mr. Seanghai’ wife, Nim Sophary, said she witnessed the attack and had been by her husband’s side at the hospital since. She said he vomited repeatedly on Wednesday and was still having trouble urinating.

“The police asked me to file the complaint, and I accused the group of people from the Khmer Union Federation of Workers Spirit of beating my husband with bamboo sticks and a banana tree branch,” she said.

Deputy district police chief Chea Sovan confirmed that his officers visited the victims and took their complaints, adding that a member of the KUFWS had also filed a complaint over the clash.

“We are now building a document with the witnesses and will send the case to the court soon,” he said.

Mr. Siek, the KUFWS president, said he was not present during the clash.

“I have no reason to pay compensation to those people because I did not commit the crime,” he said. “They accuse me without evidence.”

Confirming the other three people the victims filed their complaints against were members of his union, Mr. Siek said he did not know whether they were guilty because he had not witnessed the fighting.

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