Two More Die From Construction Truck Crash

Two men who were aboard a truck that crashed Monday in Koh Kong province while carrying 17 laborers to a construction site died in Phnom Penh hospitals Wednesday, police said, taking the death toll to four.

The open-top vehicle careened off a notoriously windy road and rolled down an embankment after the driver lost control in Koh Kong district’s Tatai Krom commune, causing two deaths at the scene and injuring all those inside.

On Wednesday, Sim Pirum, 25, died in the Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital from head injuries, while Sorn Chantha, 23, succumbed to head and chest injuries in Calmette hospital.

Sim Kolap, who is related to seven of the crash victims—including Them Neung, who died at the scene, Sim Pirum, and Sam Savion, who had both legs amputated—said she had been paid compensation for the death of her sibling Them Neung, but that the amount was insufficient to cover the ongoing medical costs of her family.

“The employer who hired them gave us 3.5 million riel (about $860),” Ms. Kolap said. “The doctor keeps demanding $750 for amputating the legs and $70 per day for the bed. Where can I get the money?”

Heng Sour, a spokesman for the Labor Ministry, said the families would have to file a complaint to be eligible for further compensation, as the unnamed company that contracted the laborers was not registered under the ostensibly compulsory National Social Security Fund.

“He has not registered yet but the employer has to bear responsibility for compensation,” Mr. Sour said, adding that, “it is a subcontracted private company and it does not have a name,” he said.

It is not uncommon for workers to be left to deal with layers of subcontractors, making it difficult for them to determine who is liable for injuries sustained on the job, according to William Conklin, country director for the Solidarity Center, a U.S.-based labor rights group.

“You can try and get compensation from your employer through the courts but if you don’t know who your employer is…then you really don’t get adequate compensation,” Mr. Conklin said.

(Additional reporting by Taylor O’Connell)

dara@cambodiadaily.com

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