Razed Factory Starts Work at Temporary Site

Employees of the Phnom Penh garment factory that caught fire and collapsed last month re­sumed work Monday at a substitute facility, while investigations to determine who was responsible for the original disaster site have ceased without a resolution, officials said Monday.

Eighty percent of Grand­tex International Ltd’s roughly 1,000 workers reported to work Mon­day at a temporary factory in Stung Meanchey commune, Mean­chey district, said Cambo­dian Labor Union Federa­tion representative Soam On. About 250 box-packers are scheduled to re­turn June 23 when garments are ready to be shipped, he said.

While factory production re­sumes, an investigation into which party should assume responsibility for the cleanup has stalled, a member of the factory’s investigative committee said Monday.

“The investigation has stopped, and no one has been found re­spon­sible. I don’t know why,” the committee member said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Meanchey Deputy Governor Em Sokleang, director of the factory’s investigative committee, said earlier this month that the factory owner, Henley Liu, is responsible for the site’s cleanup. But no effort has been made to move the wreck­age, which is now a source of income for scavengers retrieving ma­chin­ery from the rubble.

You San, the building’s landlord, said he would remove the debris once he receives insurance mo­ney from Liu. But no effort has been made to provide the documents necessary to claim the insur­ance policy, Indochine Insur­ance claims manager Kong Khan said Monday.

“They didn’t provide any documents—the certificate of construction from the government, an agreement with construction company, the building plans,” he said. Kong Khan said no money would be paid if the debris was not first cleared or if the claims adjuster de­termines that negligence caused the May 21 fire or the collapse.

Original building plans for the four-story factory permitted the building to be only two stories high, according to Say Nitha, deputy chief of Meanchey district’s Urbanization Department.

You San said he could prove that he had permission to construct a four-story building. Grand­tex representatives refused to comment on the cleanup Monday.

(Additional reporting by Saing Soenthrith and Yun Samean)

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