Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Previously wanted man gets recruitment licence

Previously wanted man gets recruitment licence

Sam Pisey (centre, red shirt) celebrates the opening of recruitment agency 4 Tigers Labour Supply Co, Ltd in January. Pisey's previous recruitment agency was shut down in 2011 after reports of abuse.  Facebook
Sam Pisey (centre, red shirt) celebrates the opening of recruitment agency 4 Tigers Labour Supply Co, Ltd in January. Pisey's previous recruitment agency was shut down in 2011 after reports of abuse. Facebook

Previously wanted man gets recruitment licence

The Labour Ministry this week issued a licence to send Cambodian workers abroad to a company owned by Sam Pisey, who was previously wanted for arrest in a case involving underage workers – a decision criticised by the government’s own anti-human trafficking committee.

4 Tigers Labour Supply Co Ltd, owned by Pisey, was one of four agencies licensed to send workers to Saudi Arabia, according to a list issued by the Labour Ministry earlier this week that included a total of 93 firms authorised to send workers overseas.

Pisey previously served as the director of T&P Co Ltd until 2011, when the firm – then the country’s second-largest recruitment agency – was suspended after a woman died at one of its training centres, another woman broke her ankle trying to jump out of a window in an alleged escape attempt, and 26 underage girls were found at a provincial maid training facility.

Authorities suspended Pisey’s company and issued a warrant for his arrest, but he fled the country to evade capture. A year later, three family members of maids recruited by T&P lodged complaints after one of their relatives disappeared in Malaysia, and two others were allegedly beaten and stripped naked by their employers.

Chou Bun Eng, the deputy director of the government’s National Committee of Counter Trafficking and a secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior, called on the Labour Ministry to explain why Pisey was granted a licence to open new recruitment agencies.

“Since it was reported that the company used to have a problem, what is the reason that they approved this company for operation? I also want to know,” she said. “In my opinion, if that company used to have a problem already, they should not be allowed to operate again.”

Pisey could not be reached yesterday. His Facebook page shows pictures of him celebrating the opening of his new firm, 4 Tigers, and also lists him as the CEO of 168 Manpower Supply Co.

168 Manpower Supply was registered in 2015 and is currently licensed to send workers to Thailand, Malaysia, Japan and Singapore.

In 2014, 50 migrant workers accused the company of promising them employment in Thailand in exchange for $200, but then never providing the jobs.

Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour could not be reached on Thursday. An Bunhak, the president of the Association of Cambodian Recruitment Agencies, declined to comment because he was unable to get in touch with Pisey.

“I want to know about the story before [I] can say something to you,” Bunhak said in a message.

According to the Labour Ministry’s new list, there are now nearly twice as many agencies licensed to send workers abroad than in 2014, when just 49 companies had permission.

Despite the ministry’s attempt to crack down on unlicensed recruitment agencies, labour rights advocates have said that fraud and exploitation continue to plague the sector.

Moeun Tola, director of labour rights group Central, said it was “quite sad” that Pisey was permitted to open new companies and send workers abroad.

“It’s quite a bad precedent and motivates companies to continue violating laws, regulations and human rights,” Tola said. “We should promote best practice businesses and punish, effectively, the bad or dirty businesses.”

MOST VIEWED

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • International air visitor arrivals dip 93%

    The number of foreign tourists entering Cambodia through the Kingdom’s three international airports witnessed a sharp 92.5 per cent year-on-year decline in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The airports handled 51,729 international tourists in the January-July period versus

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in