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.