A garment worker at a Chinese-owned factory in Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district was assaulted by company security guards on Wednesday while protesting outside the building, the victim and police said on Thursday.
Moeun Bros, 19, said he suffered head injuries after four security guards working for the Y&W Garment factory kicked him off his motorbike and then attacked him with a walkie-talkie after he threw an empty water bottle at the factory’s gate in anger.
Mr. Bros, one of 1,500 workers who have been striking at the factory since September 29 for higher wages and the reinstatement of sacked union representatives, said the guards chased him and a friend on motorbikes.
“They kicked us over and we fell down beside the road, then one of them used a walkie-talkie to hit me on the top of my head,” he said.
Mr. Bros said that when he attempted to report the assault with Prek Kampoes commune police on Wednesday, they turned him away, saying he had provoked the guards by throwing the bottle. But after taking the complaint to the district police Thursday, commune police called him back to the station, where he accepted $100 in compensation from one of the guards.
Contacted by telephone, commune police chief Meas Vanthon denied that his subordinates initially refused Mr. Bros’ complaint.
“We acknowledge he came to [the] police station with blood on his head [Wednesday],” he said. “It is not true that we didn’t accept the complaint because we called the security guards in for questioning.”
Factory manager Eric Yang said he knew nothing about the incident.
“I love my workers,” he said. “Any force [violence] is not suitable in any country.”
(Additional reporting by Holly Robertson)