Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Witness duo no-show amid safety concerns

Witness duo no-show amid safety concerns

Witness duo no-show amid safety concerns

Two witnesses to the Bavet town factory shooting in February failed to show up at Svay Rieng Provincial Court yesterday despite being summoned by an investigating judge, with one citing fears for his safety.

Sok Vuthy, a 28 year-old worker, told the Post yesterday that he did not obey the court summons from investigating judge Pech Chhoeut because his family had forbidden him for fear it would put his life in danger.

“My father, mother and all my relatives did not allow me to go to the court. I wanted to help my friends [the victims], but I could not go against my family,” he said.

The fact that suspected shooter Chhouk Bandith is still on the loose was Sok Vuthy’s main cause for concern, he said, adding he that feared any testimony he gave might provoke an act of retribution.

On February 20, about 6,000 workers at the Kaoway Sports factory in Svay Rieng’s Bavet town were protesting poor working conditions when the sound of gunshots was heard and three female workers sustained bullet wounds.

Sok Vuthy, who did not see who shot the workers, saw a man with a gun running out of the factory, accompanying by several police officers. He later discovered that the man he saw with the gun was former Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith.

The second witness to disregard the summons, female factory worker Un Sam Onn, could not be contacted yesterday.

Judge Pech Chhoeut said that “the two witnesses did not ask him for a delay” and simply did not come to the court, so he would discuss with lawyers of the victims how to proceed.

Nouth Bopinnaroath, provincial co-ordinator for human rights group Licadho, said the two were important witnesses in the shooting because of their vicinity to the victims at the time of the shooting.

“One of the witnesses could not be contacted, and another one feared presenting. In fact, they all agreed to be the witnesses. So the court will set a date for new testimony,” he added.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • ‘Do not harm Cambodians’, says PM’s son to opposition

    Prime Minister Hun Sen’s eldest son Hun Manet said on Sunday that the Kingdom would not bow to international pressure, and accused some Western countries of siding with opposition politicians who hold dual citizenship to exert pressure on Cambodia. The remarks were made after