Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Unionists mark anniversary of Chea Vichea killing, while brother skips court




Unionists mark anniversary of Chea Vichea killing, while brother skips court

Former union leader Rong Chhun speaks at an event today marking the 14th anniversary of later Free Trade Union president Chea Vichea's death in 2004.
Former union leader Rong Chhun speaks at an event today marking the 14th anniversary of later Free Trade Union president Chea Vichea's death in 2004. Heng Chivoan

Unionists mark anniversary of Chea Vichea killing, while brother skips court

Unionists today marked the anniversary of the killing of prominent union leader Chea Vichea on the same day his brother, Chea Mony, failed to appear before the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in response to a summons over his calls for economic sanctions on Cambodia following a political crackdown on the opposition.

Vichea, the founder of the Free Trade Union (FTU), was gunned down in broad daylight in 2004 outside a newsstand in front of Phnom Penh’s Wat Langka, with two suspects – Born Samnang and Ouk Sam Ouen – convicted for the murder, despite a lack of evidence. They were ultimately exonerated after serving five years in prison.

Vichea's brother, Mony, has been a vociferous supporter of the opposition and is a former president of the union. He is now facing legal hassles after he told Radio Free Asia that the European Union and United States should consider economic sanctions on the country following the widely condemned dissolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party in November. The remarks prompted a coalition of pro-government union leaders to file a complaint against him, asking for $1 million in damages and calling for "incitement" charges.

Mony did not attend his court questioning, according to FTU Deputy President Man Senghak, who said he had left the country.

“Chea Mony is abroad. The court wants him to clarify [his comments] so I don’t know if he will go,” Senghak said.

Phnom Penh court spokesmen Ly Sophanna and Y Rin declined to comment on Mony’s absence today.

Meanwhile, on Sihanouk Boulevard, where a memorial statue of Vichea stands, union members conducted a prayer ceremony and called for the killing to be investigated and for the real culprits to be convicted.

While City Hall allowed for only 120 participants, former unionist Rong Chhun said the current political climate seemed to have also dampened interest in marking the day.

“This year's number of participants was small because the city limited the number of people, some factories did not allow unions to participate and also the fear of the political situation,” said Chhun, who is a former president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association.

MOST VIEWED

  • Vietnam: Tougher sentences for child abusers

    Several National Assembly (NA) deputies in Vietnam are calling for tougher penalties to be handed down to child abusers. They hope stricter punishments will act as a strong deterrent to prevent offenders committing further offences in the future. Extreme measures such as chemical castration were

  • Central bank to shun small US banknotes

    The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) is considering not accepting smaller denominated US dollar banknotes – $1, $2 and $5 – from banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs) which it said are flooding its stockpile as the demand for those notes is low. While some banking insiders welcomed the move as

  • PM lauded in Covid-19 fight

    World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen thanking him for following the WHO’s guidance and commending Cambodia’s efforts in the fight against Covid-19. In his letter made public by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • Workers return, hope for salaries

    More than 600 factory workers in the capital’s Chaom Chao commune in Por Sen Chey district returned to work after the factory’s owner promised to pay their salaries in instalments until the middle of next month. On Tuesday and Wednesday, more than 600 workers gathered

  • Women detained for forcing kids to beg

    Two women were sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday for forcing six children to beg for money for several months at the Chhouk Meas market in Krang Thnong commune in the capital’s Sen Sok district. Phnom Penh Department of Anti-human Trafficking and

  • Vietnamese tents baffle border guards

    Kandal and Takeo provincial authorities bordering Vietnam have expressed concern after witnessing irregularities by the Vietnamese authorities, including the deployment of soldiers to erect 114 camps just 30m from the border. Takeo provincial governor Ouch Phea told The Post on Thursday that Vietnamese soldiers had erected 83