Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Attacked unionist suspects factory




Attacked unionist suspects factory

Free Trade Union leader Choub Sok Leap
Free Trade Union leader Choub Sok Leap attends a staff meeting in Kampong Speu last month after being attacked. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Attacked unionist suspects factory

Police are still searching for suspects after an alleged attack on a Free Trade Union (FTU) leader in Kampong Speu last month, while union officials are pointing the finger at the management of the factory they were attempting to organise.

Two men on a motorbike pulled up alongside Choub Sok Leap, president of the newly formed FTU branch at Hirota (Cambodia) Garment, as she walked with her niece after her shift at about 6pm on December 17, Sok Leap said yesterday.

Wielding an iron bar, one of the helmeted men jumped off the motorbike, striking Sok Leap in the head, before jumping back on and speeding away with the driver of the bike.

“One man carried a long iron bar, jumped off the motorbike and hit me in the head, causing bleeding, and then they left the scene,” Sok Leap said. “No one could recognise them, because they got away too quickly.”

Management at Hirota were unhappy with the introduction of FTU to the factory in November, FTU official Ry Sithynet said yesterday.

Sok Leap said factory leadership asked her multiple times what good they expected to accomplish by unionising Hirota and ignored multiple attempts to dissuade her. The morning of the attack, she added, a member of the factory’s management took a photograph of her.

“There was a Chinese staffer who took my picture in the morning while I was working,” Sok Leap said. “I thought she took my pictures for pleasure, but I was attacked in the evening.”

Management at Hirota – which data from the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) says is 90 per cent Japanese-owned and 10 per cent Chinese-owned – could not be reached by phone and did not respond to an email by press time yesterday.

As Sok Leap spent three days in the hospital and eight more recovering at home, she and fellow FTU members reported the assault to the Samrong Tong district police department.

District police chief Khuth Sophal said the department has never investigated an attack on a union leader, and has invited Sok Leap and witnesses to help track down her attackers, but is struggling to find any leads.

“We will not abandon our investigation,” Sophal said. “Although [suspects] are a bit difficult for us to find.”

MOST VIEWED

  • School reopening to be postponed until November

    Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting a delay of school reopening across the Kingdom until November, when the new academic year begins. In his letter, Chuon Naron said the postponement is warranted to avoid the new

  • Foreigners in Kingdom must now register in FPCS system

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) announced that it would not grant visa extensions to foreigners staying in Cambodia if their names are not listed on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS) by July 1. Foreign nationals can register in the

  • Covid-19 at ‘alarming rate’, health ministry says

    The Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission is at an “alarming rate” in the Kingdom and its probability is “not low”, warned Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine. “Cambodia’s coronavirus scenario is classified as being at an early stage of the pandemic because of ongoing

  • Mandatory quarantine for 30,000 workers begins

    Some of the roughly 30,000 workers from factories and enterprises across the Kingdom who went on leave during Khmer New Year began their government-imposed 14-day quarantine on Monday. Speaking at a press conference while visiting workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday, Ministry

  • Unemployed to get $40 per month

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has instructed enterprises, business owners and travel agencies in five provinces to prepare the proper forms for the suspension of employment contracts. This, it said, will make it easier for the ministry to transfer $40 a month to workers

  • Gov’t travel ban flouted

    While the majority of Cambodians have paid heed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to stay put and not travel during the Khmer New Year – the holidays of which were also postponed – several hundred have left Phnom Penh nonetheless. They have allegedly breached provincial

  • G20 energy ministers struggle to finalise oil output cuts

    Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by Group of 20 (G20) energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico. The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions

  • Kingdom revises travel restriction order

    The government on Friday eased the district and provincial border restrictions issued on Thursday. People are now allowed to cross districts within their provinces. Phnom Penh and Kandal province are to be treated as a single region where people are allowed to travel freely. In

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,