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Scaffolding collapse families seek answers, compensation

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Three elevator repairmen were crushed to death on Saturday after a 16-storey-tall scaffolding collapsed on top of them. HEAN RANGSEY

Scaffolding collapse families seek answers, compensation

Family members of the three elevator repairmen who were crushed to death on Saturday after a 16-storey-tall scaffolding collapsed on top of them told The Post that they want to be properly compensated.

The victims: Sok Sambath, 21; Yem Tin, 35; and Thim Thyrong, 31, were working overtime at a condominium construction site on Street 65 in Phnom Penh’s Srah Chak commune in Daun Penh district when the incident occurred.

Sambath’s family scrambled to search for him after he called his wife to let her know that he would be working late before going missing, his elder sister Nheu Taing Suon told The Post.

Suon said: “When we went to the scene, some victims were identified by their legs, some were recognised by their arms. My younger brother is from Kampong Thom province and we saw his knees first and suspected it was him, as we remembered his jeans.

“We don’t know how they fell or why but at that time we saw they were crushed by the iron scaffolding, planks of wood and other construction materials.”

She said that Sambath had been missing since 8:30pm on Saturday and the corpses of the victims were not discovered until Sunday evening when workers returned to the site for the next shift.

The family members filed a report with the police immediately, Suon said, but after negotiations on compensation fell through, authorities kept the bodies until 10am on Monday.

Tin’s elder sister, Yem Yorn, told The Post: We don’t know who their boss is. They only gave us $3,000. I don’t know much, but I know people died and it was three days before we were given his body. We just had to move on [and accept the compensation offered].

“My younger brother has three children and his second child is just one-year-old. We want to get better compensation to help his children,” she said.

The family members claimed that the construction site was owned by a Cambodian man but could not say who it was.

Daun Penh governor Sok Penh Vuth, Srah Chak commune second deputy chief Chhay Thyrith, Daun Penh police chief Huot Chan Yarann and Srah Chak police chief Kan Vannak declined to comment.

Some of them said they were in the provinces while others said that they could not talk because they had not visited the scene of the incident.

Cambodian Food and Service Union president Sar Mora said the companies are only required to compensate families if the incident is found to be caused by negligence or if the construction failed to comply with safety or technical standards.

“The Labour Law does not stipulate criminal punishment but the Criminal Code may stipulate that there is negligence leading to unintentional manslaughter.

“It’s up to authorities to investigate the matter if they find that the incident was an accident, the manager of the site would not be held legally responsible,” he said.

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