National Assembly Invest-igation Commission Chairman Yim Sovann has asked Interior Minister Sar Kheng to investigate the violence at Phnom Penh’s Bright Sky garment factory on Monday night that left one worker hospitalized with a gunshot wound.
“We request an invest-igation…and legal measures to be taken against the criminals who committed the violence on the innocent workers,” SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann said in a letter sent on Friday.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said that the Interior Ministry investigation is already ongoing into the Bright Sky affair.“We do not need any letters from any Excellencies,” he said.
Muth Savy, 24, claims she was shot in the back by police during protests at the factory on Monday night, when heavily armed officers fired weapons and used batons and rifle butts to dispersed a crowd of seven hundred protestors. Police and factory management claim the police acted in self-defense after being pelted by rock and bottles.
Khieu Sopheak said Muth Savy could have been shot by provocateurs.
“The authorities shot into the air, there was maybe another bullet from someone else who is not an authority. We fear there were hidden forces,” he said.
Meanwhile, one of Bright Sky’s main buyers, the US-based Gap Inc, is also investigating the violence.
Naurin Muzaffar, Global Partnerships manager for Gap Inc based in Pakistan, said by telephone on Friday that her company is very concerned about the shooting.
“We are investigating this incident at the factory thoroughly,” she said. “The role of the police and how they have conducted themselves is something that buyers are concerned about.”
On Friday, Bright Sky announced that it will shut its night shift operation, thereby eliminating from its staff most of the seven hundred workers who took part in the protest.
Bright Sky owner Albert Tan said that the decision will result in the lay off of about 1,000 workers.
“We are closing the night shift, we cannot afford it any more,” Tan claimed. “My managers do not want to work that shift any more.”
Free Trade Union President Chea Mony, whose union organized the protest over temporary labor contracts, demanded layoff compensation for those about to lose their jobs and said that his union would sue Bright Sky, which he accused of using police to suppress his union.
Adhoc investigator Chan Soveth said the family of Muth Savy plan also to sue the authorities that shot her.