Three union activists involved in last month’s strike at Master & Frank garment factory in Kandal province have said they will refuse to appear for a second round of questioning today at the provincial military police station.
The unionists, from the independent Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, have been accused of violence against officials and damaging company property.
One of the men, Ra Sambath, who claims police and security guards beat him unconscious while he protested at the factory in Ang Snuol district on December 26, said yesterday that the group would not go back to the military police station today as summonsed after questioning last Friday became heated.
“They [military police officers] threatened us and forced us to confess, but we refused, because we did not do what the bosses alleged,” he said, adding that police present at the protest would have arrested them if they had done anything wrong.
“I asked them to show me the evidence. They did not do as I requested,” he added.
After lodging a complaint of violence to the Kandal Provincial Court, Sambath himself received his first summons from the military police last week.
“I will not go to meet them again, because they have already asked me about the strike, and I explained everything that happened to us. I do not need to explain more.”
Master & Frank’s owners are demanding $30,000 compensation from each man for the alleged violence and destruction of property, Sambath said.
“If we had that much money, we wouldn’t be working in garment factories.”
More than 300 workers protested late last month and early this month at Master & Frank, a Chinese-owned manufacturer of apparel for surgeons, nurses and doctors, demanding bosses reinstate 10 co-workers who they claim were dismissed without reason.
Va Oudom, provincial deputy military police chief, would not say why the case was being handled by the military police and referred questions to Long Sideth, director of the research department, who could not be reached.
To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at [email protected]