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Strike arrest: Union leader busted over bamboo

Police arrested a labour representative yesterday in front of the capital’s Apsara garment factory and seized 51 bamboo sticks in his possession on suspicions of planned violence.

According to Choam Chao commune deputy criminal police officer Ngo Serey, the arrest was made due to authorities’ belief that the suspect, Solidarity Worker Federation president Sieng Rithy, planned to wreak havoc at the factory.

“When the workers were on strike, the authorities checked and found the sticks in the union president’s car boot and we arrested him,” Serey said.

About 900 striking Apsara workers walked off the job between January 30 and February 3 to demand pay rises and better working conditions.

Authorities sent the suspect to the police station for further legal action, Serey added.

The factory’s general manager also filed a complaint against Rithy for urging workers to strike and for previously threatening violence, said factory chief administrator Phan Chea Sovannary.

“On January 31, [he] made threats in front of the factory, and said that if anyone is brave, then come out to fight.”

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