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39 injured in truck smash

Almost 40 garment workers remained in hospital yesterday after a company truck carrying them to their factory in the border town of Bavet in Svay Rieng province flipped over on Sunday morning.

Four of the 39 injured workers sustained severe head injuries, Bavet police chief Keo Kong said. One was sent to a hospital in Vietnam, another rushed to Calmette in Phnom Penh, and two others sent to the provincial hospital, he said.

Kuch Sitha, deputy director of Svay Rieng provincial hospital, said none of the patients had sustained life-threatening injuries.

“Patients who sustained injuries in their chest or stomach when the truck turned over were x-rayed and examined by doctors,” he said.

The 1.5-tonne truck was transporting 57 workers from Prey Angkunh village to CCO garment factory in Tapao village morning when it flipped over, Keo Kong said.

The driver had been speeding, the truck was carrying too many passengers and that a tyre exploded as the driver made a sharp turn into the factory entrance, causing the vehicle to flip over, he said.
The 23-year-old driver, Pao Phet, has been detained by the provincial court and both civil and criminal charges are pending.

Tola Moeun, head of the labour program at Cambodia Legal Education Centre, said trucks carrying workers to and from garment factories were often so overcrowded that the women had to stand, sometimes for as long as one hour each way. “Sometimes they have to sit on the roof of a mini bus,” he said. Such transportation put the women “highly at risk”, he said.

Because of low wages, workers had to “live collectively, eat collectively and travel to and from work collectively”, Tola Moeun said.

To avoid such accidents it would be necessary to increase wages and enhance enforcement of traffic laws, he said.

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