Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Union leader to face another day in court

Union leader to face another day in court

Union leader to face another day in court

The leader of Cambodia’s largest independent garment union is due to appear in court this afternoon for a third round of pretrial questioning over a case stemming from a strike that ended more than six months ago.

Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) president Ath Thorn, who is appealing bail requirements that prevent him from holding public gatherings, remains unsure whether the complaint of incitement filed by a security guard at SL Garment Processing will make it to trial.

“Based on the case, I’m not involved,” said Thorn, who was charged in April. Questioning is to begin at 3pm.

Depending on the investigating judge and prosecutors’ decision, Thorn and union activist Pav Phanna could both stand trial for inciting violence during a nearly four-month-long strike involving thousands of workers. At the height of the strike, police opened fire with live ammunition during a riot on November 12, killing a street food vendor.

SL security guard Sath Sophai filed a court complaint against Thorn and Phanna, saying he was injured during the course of the strike.

In addition to the $25,000 paid to the court last month and the stipulation he may not host gatherings, Thorn’s bail agreement requires he stay away from SL. Thorn and attorney Kim Socheat have yet to hear from the appellate court about the appeal they filed in April.

Socheat has told the Post that he believes SL is behind the lawsuit.

In an interview yesterday, SL executive director Wong Hon Ming denied any involvement on the part of the company. He said SL is not providing Sophai with legal representation. Sophai, Hon Ming said, returned to his home province after SL paid him an undisclosed amount of money.

The lawsuit is merely a deterrent for other union leaders to engage in large-scale industrial action, said Moeun Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Center.

“They use the court system to intimidate,” he said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ANNIE LEE AND RAINBOW LI

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and