Heng Pov Announces Probe of Union Leader

Days after Khmer Youth Union President Yun Rithy accused Chuon Mom Thol, president of the CPP-backed Cambodian Union Fed­er­a­tion, of ordering the beating of four Khmer Youth Union acti­vists, Phnom Penh po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Heng Pov an­nounced Sun­day the opening of an investigation into ex­tortion allegations against Yun Rit­hy.

“I don’t know whether it is true or not but many garment factories are accusing him of extorting mon­ey,” Heng Pov said. The GW gar­ment factory has filed a $2,000 lawsuit against Yun Rithy, he said.

“Whenever he couldn’t make ex­tortion money, he would lead a strike,” Heng Pov said. “Yun Rithy is surely involved in faking workers’ thumbprints [on petitions].”

Cheat Khemara, senior labor con­­sultant to the Garment Manu­fac­tur­ers Association, said Sunday that 23 garment factories filed a complaint to Prime Minister Hun Sen last week accusing Yun Rithy of extortion.

“This affects the investors,” Cheat Khemara said.

Yun Rithy denied the allegations Sunday.

“I am declaring to the persons who place accusations against me to prove their evidence in front of all the workers in the whole country,” he said.

Yun Rithy said that the allegations are part of a concerted attack on his union which has led several high-profile strikes this year, in­clu­ding one at a garment factory in April that was controversially judged illegal by Phnom Penh Mu­nicipal Court.

“They are attacking and breaking us up,” he said.

On June 23, 900 members of the Khmer Youth Union signed a letter to Hun Sen asking for the ar­rest of Chuon Mom Thol.

They ac­cused the CUF leader of ordering bodyguards to fire wea­pons and beat stri­kers in front of the Best Honor In­ternational garment factory in Phnom Penh on June 17.

Heng Pov said Sunday police have not received the complaint about Chuon Mom Thol.

Chuon Mom Thol has denied the allegations, saying that his bo­dy­guards shot into the air to deter 20 Khmer Youth Federation men who were about to attack him. Last week he accused Yun Rithy of faking the petition against him.

GW factory management could not be reached Sunday.

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