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Foreign journos held at garment factory

Two foreign journalists were briefly detained in a Kandal province garment factory yesterday and ordered to delete photos they had taken, police confirmed yesterday.

Sitbou commune police chief Mey Sarin said the journalists – working for Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail – were held for about half an hour at Dignity Knitter Limited after entering the factory without permission.

“They entered through the small factory door at the same time as the workers were leaving through the big door and the security guards did not see them,” Sarin said.

“When the security guards saw them they called them to sit in the guard room for a warning and made them promise not to come inside the factory or take photos without consent from the factory anymore.”

According to Sarin, factory managers asked the pair to delete all photos they had taken and to sign a document apologising for their actions.

Sun Heng, one of two managers who detained the reporters, said he did so because the pair had entered the factory grounds uninvited.

“Not only reporters, even local authorities are not allowed to go inside if they do not ask permission, from us” he said.

After bringing the journalists to the guard room, Heng asked to review the photos and to delete certain images before the incident ended when the pair apologised, he said.

Contacted by phone, Globe correspondent Mark MacKinnon said he and a photographer had looked for someone to okay their entry but that the gate was unmanned.

“There was no one there,” said the Beijing-based Mac-Kinnon. “There was an open door and a sign saying guests are welcome to visit.”

After about 10 minutes the pair made their way back to the gate at which point a manager approached them, began yelling, and closed the gates, he said.

“Over the next 90 minutes they refused to let us go. Every time we tried to leave, they blocked us physically,” he said.  “They got very angry. I don’t know what they were so frightened of.” 

Additional reporting by Abby Seiff



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