Police Block, Search Garment Workers’ Vans in Svay Rieng

Local police in Svay Rieng province Sunday and Monday set up checkpoints along National Road 1 to stop and search vans carrying garment workers back to Phnom Penh from their home villages.

Has Naly, deputy police chief in Svay Teap district, said police had set up the checkpoints to search workers’ cars for weapons because they were worried the workers would stage another protest over the minimum wage.

“We didn’t stop them from traveling, but we checked their vans to see if they had any weapons,” he said.

“We were worried they would bring them to a demonstration. We wanted to know company names, their positions and the identities of the workers,” Mr. Naly said.

In Svay Chrum district, deputy public order police chief Phan Phanna said provincial traffic police had also stopped and checked garment workers’ vehicles.

Thorng Chana, an investigator for rights group Adhoc, said he had received reports that some workers were turned back from the checkpoints and not allowed to travel to Phnom Penh, although Mr. Naly denied this.

Mr. Chana said most of the affected workers had fled to Svay Rieng during violence in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district on Thursday night and Friday, but intended to return to work Monday.

Moeun Tola, head of the labor program at the Community Legal Education Center, said he did not have specifics on the vehicle searches, but would be investigating the reports.

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