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.