Sixty garment workers yesterday gathered outside the Kampong Chhnang provincial military police headquarters to demand the release of two men they say were wrongly imprisoned after a brawl over a ferry collision.
Phon Sarith and Phon Saroeurn, brothers who drive a truck that transports garment workers, were involved in a fight last Tuesday after the boat ferrying their truck across the Tonle Sap was struck by another being piloted by Cham villagers, according to police.
Kampong Chhnang provincial military police official Hang Socheat said when the vessels reached the shore, the pair reprimanded the Cham crew, which prompted the latter to retaliate with violence.
According to a complaint by a representative for the Cham ferry, Ly Osman, the brothers injured three of his relatives in the resulting fracas. However, local unionist Karn Sokvy, who led yesterday’s protest, said it was the Cham crew who injured the drivers, slashing Sarith with a knife and hitting Saroeun in the head. “It is bitterly unfair for them,” he said.
Socheat said a video of the incident suggested both parties were in the wrong, though it would be up to a court to decide.