Union Leader Found Gagged, Unconscious

A Free Trade Union leader at a Phnom Penh garment factory was found bound, gagged and unconscious in her Meanchey district home, a day after union officials alleged she had a dispute with factory officials.

Union officials went to the house of Lay Sopheap, 30, after she failed to show up for work at the Luan Thai factory Thurs­day morning, said Man Seng Hak, deputy secretary-general of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

After breaking down the door, which was locked from the outside, they found her unconscious  under her bed.

“When we took her from under her bed…she looked like a [dead] body,” he said.

Man Seng Hak said he had re­ceived an anonymous phone call on Wednesday claiming that the union leader clashed with factory officials earlier that day. Workers also said that Lay Soph­eap had attempted to organize a strike, Man Seng Hak said.

Reached by telephone, a Luan Thai factory administrative official, who identified himself as “Vis­nou,” declined to comment.

The case is under investigation, and police have no suspects, said Chak Angre Krom commune Deputy Police Chief Kong Yi.

“We cannot conclude the matter yet because the victim is being treated in hospital,” Kong Yi said.

Lay Sopheap remained unconscious at Preah Bat Norodom Sihanouk Hospital Thursday.


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