Defense Minister Bails Out Three Union Leaders

Deputy Prime Minister and co-De­­fense Minister Nhiek Bun Chhay has bailed from prison three union of­ficials accused of ex­tor­tion, a law­yer and a union official said Wed­nes­­­day.

“I don’t know why he bailed [Nai Sok Veasna, Ly Softy and Sun Chan] out,” said Uk Phourik, a lawyer for three Federal Union of So­lidarity representatives from the Maurea garment factory.

The lawyer said he had attempted to bail out the three men but his request had been turned down.

“They didn’t agree,” he said. “But then there was reconciliation from Nhiek Bun Chhay.”

Nhiek Bun Chhay could not be reach­ed for comment and Mong Mo­­ny Spea, a lawyer for the factory, said he didn’t know why the minister was involved.

Uk Phourik said he filed a coun­ter-lawsuit on May 11 against the Maur­ea Factory, accusing man­­age­ment of using fake documents to bring an extortion case against the union leaders. The union leaders claim that the factory gave them money to hold a party in order to entrap them in ex­tortion allegations. Factory man­age­­ment has said that the union continually asked for money to pre­vent strikes.

The three men were sent to Prey Sar prison on May 12 despite threats by Cambodian Union Fed­er­ation President Chuon Mom Thol to call strikes at 180 factories if the men were charged.

Som Aun, president of the Cam­bo­­dian Labor Union Feder­a­tion, which is part of Chuon Mom Thol’s CUF, said that plans for a gen­eral strike were put on hold after the re­lease. He confirmed that Nhiek Bun Chhay bailed the men out.

Union officials said last week that the minister oversaw the peace­ful breakup of a May 4 strike at the Russei Keo district factory.

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.