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‘Shaking’ stirs fears

The front of Siu Quinh Garment factory after it was closed
The front of Siu Quinh Garment factory after it was closed early yesterday amid fears of collapse in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district. Vireak Mai

‘Shaking’ stirs fears

Officials from the ministry in charge of construction are investigating the safety of a garment factory after workers yesterday fled from it saying they felt it shake “like an earthquake”.

More than 400 workers at the Siu Quinh Garment factory in the capital’s Dangkor district were granted leave after feeling the walls and equipment around them moving, worker Bouy Srey Mom said.

“We ran outside the building to a safe place after it shook like an earthquake and we feared it was going to fall down on us,” she said.

The workers felt similar things last week, but were told to keep working, she added.

“We cannot work inside a shaking building. We need to be sure it’s safe,” she said. “The factory allowed us time off until Monday.”

In May, two workers were killed when a storage level collapsed at the Wing Star Shoes factory in Kampong Speu province.

Another worker at Siu Quinh, who identified herself only as Any, 26, said she was scared she and her co-workers would meet the same fate.

“They do not care about our lives. I fear we will be killed,” she said, adding that the walls and ceilings had cracks in them.

Bun Leng, the factory’s administrative manager, said he had given workers time off while he waited for the results of an investigation by the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction.

“We’ve taken some machinery outside, so ministry officials can evaluate the building,” he said. “Previously, we had it checked by a private company who said it was all right.”

Leng believed the shaking was caused by nearby construction.

“But they did not believe us. So we allowed them to take time off,” he said, adding that cracks would be fixed.

Huy Nara, general director of the ministry’s construction department, said he visited the factory yesterday.

“We still have to take more experts from the ministry to investigate. For now, in order to protect the safety of the workers, the authorities have asked that their tasks be suspended,” he said.

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