Nine survivors of a shoe factory collapse in Kampong Speu province remained hospitalized Friday. In interviews with VOA Khmer, several of them recounted the event, when a storage mezzanine loaded with manufacturing equipment fell. Survivors considered themselves lucky to be alive, after they were nearly crushed by chunks of concrete and equipment at the Wing Stars factory. The victims rushed to Calmette Thursday were the lucky ones, they said. Rim Saroeun was not among them. He perished in the collapse. At his home in Bati district, Takeo province, family members mourned on Friday, weeping over his coffin, where his photograph hung, as they prepared for his funeral. He was married, with a one-month-old son. VOA Khmer's Say Mony reports from Takeo province.
At least two workers died and 11 others were injured Thursday morning when a section of a shoe factory collapsed where they were working in Kampong Speu province, authorities said. Officials have so far blamed the collapse on shoddy construction of a storage mezzanine at the Wing Star Shoes factory, 50 kilometers south of Phnom Penh. VOA Khmer's Kong Sothanarith reports from the scene in Kompong Speu province.
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy says that while his party supports foreign investment in the country, Cambodia must ensure it is not “destroyed in the process.” In an interview with VOA Khmer’s Poch Reasey in Washington, Sam Rainsy said that national interests must be protected and that “you don’t rob our villagers’ lands and properties.” His warnings come amid a report this week that Vietnamese rubber plantations are behind many of the economic developments that have forced rural villagers from their land.
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy joined a panel of experts in Washington on Wednesday to discuss further promotion of democracy in Cambodia. The talk, joined by about 100 participants at the Wilson Center, a think tank in the capital, was aimed at finding ways to create free and fair elections in Cambodia in national polls July 28. Sam Rainsy told the group that democracy in Cambodia has been "derailed," and the international community must help put it back on track. (Sok Khemara, Washington)
Thousands of garment workers gathered in a demonstration in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, to demand better salaries and improved working conditions for the hundreds of thousands of workers in Cambodia’s factories. Workers say a government increase of the minimum wage, to $80 per month, is not enough to keep up with the rising cost of living in the country. The demonstration took place in front of the National Assembly, where representatives of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party and royalist Funcinpec addressed the workers. The demonstration was the first since political parties began ramping up for the July 27 national elections. (Suy Heimkhemra, Phnom Penh)
Thousands of garment factory workers, activists and union leaders marched in the streets of Phnom Penh on May Day, demanding former Bavet city governor Chhouk Bandith be arrested for allegedly shooting into a crowd of workers last year, injuring three women. Workers say the courts dropped the case against Chhouk Bandith because of his political power. VOA Khmer's Say Mony reports from Phnom Penh.