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Cambodia’s PM removes Bavet city governor for shooting allegation

PHNOM PENH, March 8 (Xinhua) — The Governor of Bavet city Chhouk Bundit, who is the only suspect of shooting Cambodian garment workers in a mass protest on Feb. 20, was removed from his position in order to make way for the court to look into the case, Men Vibol, deputy governor of Svay Rieng province, said Thursday.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen signed a letter on March 5 to remove him (Chhouk Bundit) from the post in order to make way for the court to investigate him in the case of shooting protesting garment workers,” he told Xinhua by telephone.

On March 5, the Svay Rieng Provincial Court issued a letter to summon Chhouk Bundit for questioning for his role in the alleged shooting of three protesting garment workers on Feb. 20.

Men Vibol said that so far Chhouk Bundit’s whereabouts is unknown.

The Feb. 20 shooting happened at the Manhattan Special Economic Zone (SEZ) situated in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet city when some 3,000 workers from three factories, namely Kingmaker Footwear, Kaoway Sports and Sheico, were protesting for salary increase.

The three victims in the shooting are Buot Chenda, 21, who was shot on her chest and exited her back, and the two others are Keo Nea and Nuth Sakhorn, who were slightly injured.

The Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said on March 1 that Chhouk Bundit was the only suspect in the shooting.

Svay Rieng is located some 167 kilometers Southeast of Phnom Penh and bordered by Vietnam.

Garment industry is the country’s largest income maker. The sector earned total revenues of 4.24 billion U.S. dollars last year, representing 87 percent of the country’s total exports.

The whole industry consisted of more than 300 factories, employing more than 300,000 people, mostly women from rural areas.

Low wages and poor working conditions have led to frequent strikes in this Southeast Asian nation. The minimum monthly wage for a worker is 66 U.S. dollars.

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