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Factories Cease Operations Following Bloody Shooting

An unidentified garment worker lying on a hospital bed with multiple gunshot wounds to her back.

At least 13 garment factories located in a special economic zone in the southeastern province of Svay Reang are temporarily closed after a shooting incident which left three workers seriously wounded, a senior provincial official said Tuesday.

On Monday, three female workers were attacked by an unknown gunman while protesting for a pay raise and better working conditions.

Authorities said factory owners have now agreed to provide an additional $10 a month for transportation and $ 0.50 cents a day for meals.

"If they work on Sundays or government holiday, the company would arrange a vehicle to take them to work," Svay Reang provincial governor Cheang Am told VOA Khmer by phone Tuesday. “But if there is no vehicle, the company will pay $2 each for transportation.”

However, there was no discussion of the shooting incident.

Trade unions and rights group have condemned the shooting and called for a speedy arrest of the perpetrator.

“I think it was the authorities [behind the shooting],” said Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia. “Because, based on the security guards at the company whom I spoke with, they said they don’t have a gun, they have only wooden sticks and handcuffs.”

“We urge authorities to open an urgent investigation and show the information in public, in order to let us know who the perpetrator was and bring them to justice," said Chan Savet, an investigator at Adhoc, a local human rights group.

San Sam Ath, acting provincial police chief, could not be reached for comment, and Interior Ministry Spokesman Khieu Sopheak declined to comment.