Factory Union Shooting Incident Spurs Workers To Plea for Arrest

About 900 workers have thumb­printed a petition asking Prime Min­ister Hun Sen and Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng to ar­rest Chuon Mom Thol in connection with a June 17 incident at the Best Honor International Garment factory in Phnom Penh.

Yun Rithy, president of the Fed­eration of Khmer Youth Union, has accused Chuon Mom Thol, presi­dent of the pro-CPP Cambo­dian Union Federation, of arriving at a workers’ demonstration at the factory with armed bodyguards who shot in the air and beat four union representatives.

The petition obtained on Wed­nes­­day, which is dated June 23, al­so asks Hun Sen and Sar Kheng to let the workers return to work when the factory reopens, after it re­cently claimed bankruptcy.

Reached on Wednesday, Chuon Mom Thol called the petition a fake and said the workers’ complaint was a ploy orchestrated by Yun Rithy.

Best Honor workers were members of his own union, he said, ad­ding that Yun Rithy had gone to the factory on June 17 just to “bother” the company.

Yun Rithy responded that the pe­tition was genuine and had come from the workers themselves.

Chuon Mom Thol’s version of the June 17 incident is that his bo­dy­­guards had to shoot in the air to disperse 20 of Yun Rithy’s men who were about to attack him with swords and batons.

Lim Ouk, deputy police chief for Dang­kao district, confirmed Chuon Mom Thol’s account.

How­ever last week, he had ad­mitted arriving at the factory after the incident and denied seeing any­thing.

“If Samdech Hun Sen and De­pu­ty Prime Minister Sar Kheng really arrest me, all factories will leave Cambodia,” Chuon Mom Thol said, adding that companies are getting fed up with some unions.

Huot Chanthy, director of the La­bor and Inspection Department at the Ministry of Labor, said that his responsibilities did not include solving conflicts between labor unions.


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