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Illegal factory floor removed

The illegally built second storey of the Siu Quinh garment factory in Phnom Penh has been destroyed, factory officials and workers said yesterday.

Bun Leng, administrative manager at the factory in Dangkor district, said his company had demolished the floor after inspection from a private company – whose name he did not reveal – and discussions with officials from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction.

“The private company released the results of their investigation, saying the second floor had to be demolished,” he said, adding this had happened in December.

The ministry, he said, had approved the rebuilding of the floor, which would be completed in March.

Workers fled from the factory in late November claiming the walls were shaking. An inspection by ministry officials in the days that followed discovered the unauthorised floor.

Officials from the ministry could not be reached yesterday, but Bouy Srey Mom, 26, said she had seen the floor demolished.

Employees are still producing garments in a makeshift workspace, she added, but are happy the second storey has been knocked down.

“The place is a bit narrow and hot, but it is safer for us than in the shaky building,” she said.

“We will eventually return to work in the main building. I hope the shaking will stop now,” she said.

In May last year, two workers, one of them a teenage girl, were killed when an illegally built storage level collapsed at the Wing Star Shoes factory in Kampong Speu province.

The deaths prompted Minister of Labour Ith Sam Heng, then minister of social affairs, to promise increased construction safety inspections.

Such inspections, however, are yet to be introduced.

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