Retired King Expresses Pity for ‘Beer Girls’ Safety

Retired King Norodom Sihanouk has added his voice to growing in­ternational calls for better and safer working conditions for Cambodia’s beer promotion workers, three of whom have been shot by their customers in recent months.

In a letter posted to his Web site on Tuesday, Norodom Sihanouk ex­pressed pity for female beer promoters, but said he was powerless to help them as he has vowed to forsake politics.

“Foreign companies which ex­port their famous beers to the 2nd Kingdom of Cambodia earn millions of US dollars every year …thanks to the desirable ‘Khmer beer girls,’” the retired king wrote.

“These poor ‘beer girls’ are my [great-grandchildren],” he continued.

“I cannot save them, having promised not to involve myself any longer in politics, including that of beer.”

At a Phnom Penh press conference on Saturday, international trade union leaders said multinational beer companies would be pressured in their home countries to take re­sponsibility for ensuring the protection of women who promote their brands in Cambodia.

Lon Limalin, a 22-year-old beer promoter in Phnom Penh, said Tues­day that she was proud the topic was receiving international concern, though she was pessi­mis­tic that this would bring real change.

“I do not think my working conditions in Cambodia would be chang­ed because…beer garden owners will ignore [any new regulations],” she said.



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