PHNOM Penh Municipal Court on Saturday ordered a garment factory union leader to serve pre-trial detention on charges of drug smuggling, as workers and union heads protested the arrest, claiming the charges had been fabricated.
Sous Chantha, 29, a union leader at the United Garment Factory in Sen Sok district’s Teuk Thla commune, was arrested late on Friday evening after military police stopped him at a checkpoint to search for armaments. Upon searching his bike, police found nine parcels containing crystal methamphetamine, known as ice.
Investigating Judge Phou Povson said he was yet to begin interrogating the suspect, but that the court “decided to issue to detention warrant following the court prosecutor’s charges against him”.
About 200 workers from the factory protested outside the Phnom Penh military police headquarters, demanding the suspect’s release.
Ath Thun, head of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, said there were “irregularities” in the case and that the CLC would talk with human rights groups to ask them to investigate.
“We suspect that a third party masterminded a plot to plant the drugs in his bike, after he resigned from the factory he had worked at for more than 10 years to register with my organisation,” he said.