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Union Murder Investigation Already Underway, Government Says

The proper authorities are already investigating the murder of a union activist killed in February, the government said Friday, in response to a letter of concern from several well-known international manufacturers.

Eddie Bauer, the Gap, Hennes & Mauritz, Liz Claiborne and Phillips-Van Heusen urged Cambodian authorities to investigate killings of labor activists in recent years in what they said "appears to be a pattern of violence against union leaders in the country."

Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said the proper authorities were already investigating the murder of Hy Vuthy, who was killed in February. They had identified two suspects who are now on the lam, he said.

Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh was not available for comment Friday.

Mao Thoura, undersecretary for the Ministry of Commerce, said he had not seen the letter, but said the deaths of the labor leaders were just some of many.

"Many people have died," he said. "Sometimes there were causes. We have to ask the police. We don't know how important the people are, or the causes of the murders. Some person walked outside and died, and it was said the person was ill. People say this (death) has influence. "

Only the politicians' deaths influnece other events, he said.