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Garment workers receive medical attention yesterday in Svay Rieng province after the truck they were travelling in was involved in a traffic accident. National Police
Garment workers receive medical attention yesterday in Svay Rieng province after the truck they were travelling in was involved in a traffic accident. National Police

Two killed, 70 injured in Svay Rieng crash

Two people died while some 70 others sustained injuries when a truck carrying factory workers in Svay Rieng province collided with a motorbike and crashed into a ditch on Wednesday evening, authorities said yesterday.

Svay Tiep district traffic police chief Loek Neang said that the crash occurred in Kandieng Reay commune’s Leab village when a black Honda Dream carrying a driver and passenger – both without helmets – attempted to overtake another vehicle on National Road 1 and hit the truck head on. After hitting the bike, the truck lost control and veered off the road into a ditch.

“At the moment, authorities are searching for the identity of the [truck] driver, who escaped after the incident took place,” Neang said, adding that officials are “preparing the case for the court for further procedures”.

The two men on the motorbike, construction workers Nhem Noy, 39, and Phat Mun, 49, were both killed, Neang said. The men’s bodies have been returned to relatives in Svay Chrum district for traditional funeral rites.

Meanwhile, of the 70 injured workers in the truck, six sustained serious injuries, according to Neang, who said the injured were sent to the Svay Rieng Provincial Hospital, and Kandieng Reay and Chi Phu referral hospitals. The truck has been impounded at the provincial traffic police station.

Provincial traffic police chief Ouch Saron said that the licence plate number corresponded to 25-year-old driver Nhem Piseth, but authorities have not yet seen the suspect at his home and no arrest has been made.

“As of Thursday afternoon, most of the victims have left the hospital, except 10 female victims, and most of them got broken wrists, heads and collarbones, and they are staying at Svay Rieng Provincial Hospital,” Saron said.

District traffic chief Neang said the workers are employees of Nissey, a Japanese watch-making factory. According to a 2013 press release by Nihon Seimitsu Co Ltd, Nissey is an overseas subsidiary that manufactures for Casio in the Bavet SEZ in Svay Rieng province. The company could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Crashes involving vehicles transporting workers remain stubbornly common. Less than a month ago, a crash in Kampong Speu left 70 injured.

Institute for Road Safety director Ear Chariya yesterday said that despite the long-running nature of the issue, the government has offered “no solutions”.

“Government should lead the discussions to find a better solution,” he added, noting that while “there are some factories that provide reasonable or safer transport for workers”, it is up to the government to take “serious action”.

Additional reporting by Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon

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Darryl Bullen's picture

Reports of factories workers being killed and injured while being trucked to work like mobs of cattle are all too frequent. When is the Cambodian government going to take action to put an end to this inhumane practice? When are the mostly foreign factory owners going to do the decent thing and provide proper transport? Having also lived in Thailand I can honestly say I’ve never seen workers being trucked to factories there. Proper buses are provided by the factories, with adequate comfortable seating. Being cheap labour on barely a living wage is one thing. The indignity of being trucked to work is plain wrong.

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