Garment Truck Crashes in Kompong Speu; 39 Injured

A truck packed with garment workers traveling to factories in Kompong Speu province overturned on Wednesday while attempting to avoid another truck crossing the road, injuring 39 women, including a dozen who suffered broken arms and legs, officials said.

The truck ferrying the workers—who were standing in the bed—was speeding when it swerved to avoid the other vehicle and overturned at about 6:40 a.m. on a small road off National Road 4 in Odong district, according to district police chief Khim Samon.

Both drivers fled the scene of the accident on foot and remain at large, Mr. Samon said.

“We are searching for them,” he said.

Choek Borin, director of the provincial labor department, said at least 12 of the garment workers were seriously injured, but that the number could be higher, as some left the crash scene without seeking medical attention.

“There were 33 people injured in total in the accident, with 12 of them seriously injured with broken arms and legs,” Mr. Borin said. Six of the 12 were sent to hospitals in Phnom Penh for treatment, while the other six went to facilities in the province, he said.

“The exact number of people on board is not yet clear, but estimates are that there were more than 50 on board. All of the people injured were women,” he added.

Fatal accidents involving garment workers packed into truck beds, often standing—the cheapest form of transportation for many—are frequent, and the new traffic law that came into effect this year was meant to put an end to the practice by effectively banning it.

Mr. Samon, the district police chief, said his officers had been attempting to enforce the new law, but that both drivers and passengers continued to flout it.

“We have banned standing in the trucks—the trucks need to have seats,” he said.

Just over a month ago, on June 30, a speeding van packed with 28 factory workers flipped in Kompong Speu when a worn-out rear tire burst, injuring more than a dozen.

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