Two Women Charged With Extorting Factory

Two women were charged with extortion and placed in Kandal Provincial Prison on Wednesday for accepting $4,500 from the factory where they worked and had recently set up a union, a court official said.

Doung Channy, 45, and Meas Sophy, 32, had arranged to meet Mao Phalla, director of the Tae Young Co. garment factory, at a gas station near the factory to accept cash in exchange for their resignations and a promise not to organize workers, according to court clerk Chhoeun Rady. 

However, Mr. Phalla, who is also a military police officer, had alerted his colleagues of the extortion attempt, leading them to arrest and question the pair before forwarding them to court, according to Mr. Rady.

“The court has charged them with extortion,” the clerk said Friday. “Both of them are in prison.”

Contacted by telephone Friday, Mr. Phalla corroborated the court’s version of events.

“In our complaint, we accused them of demanding money from the factory on the condition of resigning and not making any trouble in the factory,” Mr Phalla explained, adding that they were also unreliable staff.

“Those ladies would come to the factory just to play around,” he said. “They never listened to anyone and would go home before it was time.”

According to the leader of another union, however, factory management feared the growing influence of the women inside Tae Young and offered them the cash in exchange for their resignations.

At the rendezvous, Mr. Phalla pushed the two women into his car and drove them to the police station, where he made the extortion claims, said Yan Rothpisey, deputy head of the Coalition Free Trade Union of Women’s Textiles.

“The reason that the director of the factory negotiated with Ms. Channy and Ms. Sophy to resign is because the factory owners didn’t want both of them to create the union in their factory,” he said.

“They had already made a deal with the factory. Why did they arrest them?”

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