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Kampong Chhnang factory boss calls scuffle ‘murder attempt’

Kampong Chhnang factory boss calls scuffle ‘murder attempt’

A boss at a garment factory in Kampong Chhnang province has accused the husband and a friend of a recently fired employee of chasing down her car and trying to kill her.

Thhey Kunthea, administrative chief of the Chinese-owned Horizon Outdoor garment factory, filed an attempted murder complaint at the provincial police station on Monday night against dismissed employee Som Chreum’s husband, Phon Vanna, 35, and friend Khem Chhoun, 47, according to provincial police chief Srey Sitha. Both are being held at provincial court.

Vanna and Chhoun had pursued Kunthea’s car on a motorbike until it became stuck in a traffic jam and then blocked its path, Sitha said.

“The men opened the door and took the administrative chief out of the car. So there was a physical argument,” he said. “Thhey Kunthea got injured on her arm and left-hand side.”

“I cannot say whether it is an attempted murder as it is Thhey Kunthea’s complaint; let the provincial court decide,” said Sitha, who has unsuccessfully entreated all parties to apologise and reconcile.

Chreum said the official reason given for her dismissal from Horizon on Monday morning was a minor mistake on the assembly line months ago, but insists the true reason is that her husband is a union leader at the nearby Camsport garment factory.

“They investigated me or asked [my neighbours] about me a few days ago,” said Chreum. “They know I am a union wife, so they stopped me extending my contract.”

She said the chase began after she saw a car with blacked-out windows outside their home matching the description neighbours had given of the car of those making enquiries about her last week.

Dr Te Vanna, owner of the clinic where Kunthea sought treatment after the incident, said he was not present at the time but his staff provided her with painkillers for injuries to her hand and arm.

“Her condition is not serious; and if my staff could not handle it, they would let me know or would have reported it to me,” he said.

A manager at Horizon who hung up without giving his name said he was unaware of Chreum’s sacking. “I have many employees resign every day,” he said.

“If we let employees go or they resign, it’s because their performance is not up to standard.”

Kunthea declined to comment for this story.

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