Immigration police released a Chinese garment factory manager detained at Phnom Penh International Airport on Tuesday for allegedly trying to skip town without paying her employees.
Chan Sok Yeang, the lawyer for You Cheng garment factory manager Hu Shu Hau, said his client was released Wednesday evening after she signed a contract with police, allowing the court to sell her factory’s equipment and disperse the proceeds to her workers if she failed to return to Cambodia.
Chan Sok Yeang said the equipment was worth $80,000.
Immigration police detained Hu without a warrant Tuesday night, after accusing her of trying to flee without paying $40,000 in wages owed to 400 workers.
Police said they acted on complaints by her workers, who believed she intended to shut the factory down without paying them.
But Chan Sok Yeang said his client never intended to leave for long. “There is no way the factory’s manager does not return because the factory’s equipment is [more] expensive than the salaries,” Chan Sok Yeang said.
Hu was merely leaving for China to meet with the factory’s owner, who is based there, to discuss a rental contract on the factory’s Kandal province warehouse, which has now expired.
On Thursday, Hu had not yet left the country, and her lawyer did not know when she intended to leave. Airport police Chief Duong Ngeat said that he released Hu after her lawyer and the Chinese Embassy intervened on her behalf.
Apparently unaware of her release, more than 200 workers from the factory’s unions—the National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia and the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia—were waiting in front of the Immigration Police Department on Thursday, hoping to speak with Hu.
Mom Nhim, the NIFTUC president, said his members will burn car tires in front of the Chinese Embassy if they don’t receive their salaries today.