More than 1,000 construction workers at South Korean-backed Camko City in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district ransacked an administration office and torched an administrator’s SUV Monday evening when they did not receive their monthly salaries, authorities said.
Having expected to receive their salaries Saturday, the workers protested at the end of Monday’s workday when their employer said salaries would be further delayed even though the 4,000 other workers at the $2 billion satellite city had already been paid, District Governor Klaing Huot said.
“The workers had no money to pay for their food or housing,” Klaing Huot said by telephone Tuesday.
According to a police report on the incident, the unpaid construction workers broke the windows of an office building and smashed the computers inside, and also set an administrator’s Mitsubishi Pajero ablaze.
Deputy Phnom Penh police chief Pol Davy said 100 military police officers were deployed to prevent the violence from escalating, and they arrested two of the workers.
The two were released later Monday night after a workers’ representative assured there would be no more violence.
Pol Davy added that military police are seeking to arrest those who had organized the destruction.
Klaing Huot, who was present during the protests, said the violence ended when an official from Camko City arrived with the workers’ overdue pay packets.
“The incident finished the same night after the company gave them their salaries,” he said.
Several phone calls to the offices of Camko City went unanswered Tuesday.