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Baker says teens were holiday help

Baker says teens were holiday help

Following widespread media reports of exploitation and physical abuse of minors, the owner of a bakery in the capital who had added 14 underage workers from Takeo province to his workforce in time for the Chinese Moon Festival claimed innocence.

Steung Meanchey I commune police chief Mao Savoeun said Thuok Kuong, 55, who owns Lay Keang Huor Bakery, hired the underage teenagers to work night shifts and allegedly used violence against one of the unidentified girls last week.

Savoeun said police were investigating after the girl lodged a complaint.

“We’re working on the case. The 14 teenagers, including the victim, have returned to their hometown,” he said, adding that the bakery owner is Cambodian, and not Chinese as some alleged.

Kuong said the teenagers had worked at his shop for four days, adding that the employment was temporary.

“I employed them because I needed more workers as the festival approached. They came to work only for a short period of time – about 24 days. They would return home after the festival,” he said.

He denied allegations of physical abuse.

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