Factory Manager Accused of Fleeing Released

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.

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