Briefs: S’ville Investigates Guns, NEC Sues Son Chhay, Adidas Wants Inquiry

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Two men lean on parked luxury cars near the Two Lions Roundabout in the center of Sihanoukville on May 31, 2022. (Danielle Keeton-Olsen/VOD)

By VOD Staff

Following this week’s shooting of a police officer, Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun called for an investigation into the source of guns that have been used in recent violent crimes in Sihanoukville.

Chairing a meeting Thursday afternoon on strengthening security in the coastal city, Chamroeun said the situation had deteriorated, requiring urgent measures to regain control.

“There should be absolutely no exception made both for those who smuggle weapons and those who provide weapons to the traffickers,” Chamroeun said, urging harsh penalties. “I will continue to further investigate and find the root: Where are those weapons coming from?”

The speech came as National Police issued a further report of Sihanoukville violence on Friday, describing an attempted kidnapping in Buon commune that led to the arrests of three men and seizure of weapons and ammunition.

The incident, which happened on Sunday, involved four to five cars, including two Mercedes Benzes, that had parked near a company building in the commune, according to the police. 

The provincial force was alerted and arrived at the scene, where one suspect escaped after leaving a vehicle behind, while two to three other cars drove away. Three Chinese nationals aged 28, 33 and 36 were arrested. The attempted kidnapping was to be of the suspects’ friend, police said.

— Mech Dara

NEC Follows CPP in Suing Son Chhay

The National Election Committee has formally sued Candlelight Party vice president Son Chhay for defamation and demanded that he issue a public apology.

The complaint was made to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday by NEC officials Dim Sovannarom and Som Sorida regarding a media interview conducted by Chhay on June 7, which was also the target of an earlier $1-million lawsuit brought by the ruling CPP. In the interview, Chhay alleged there was the “stealing” of votes during the June 5 commune election.

The NEC complaint said Chhay’s remarks had seriously affected the institution’s reputation. Chhay left for Australia last weekend.

Preliminary results from June 5 show the ruling CPP won around 75% of the vote. The Candlelight Party received about 22%, but has alleged voter intimidation and irregularities during vote counting.

— Yeang Socheameta

Adidas Calls for Investigation of Can Sports Shoes Factory

International shoe giant Adidas is calling for an investigation into Cambodian police actions after officers arrested three footwear factory union leaders amid a protest over labor conditions.

The protest, at Kampong Chhnang’s Can Sports on May 31, came after four of 10 unions at the factory had informed management of a strike, Adidas said in a letter to Labor Minister Ith Samheng. But three union leaders were arrested ahead of the protest, which still proceeded with workers “gathering peacefully in front of the factory gates,” said the letter, dated Tuesday.

The Adidas statement noted that International Labor Organization conventions that even the brief arrests of union leaders for exercising freedom of association were a violation of rights. The apparel giant asked the Labor Ministry to investigate the police action, transparently report its findings, and convey that there should be “no repetition of such actions by the authorities in Kampong Chhnang Province in the future.”

Labor Ministry spokesperson Heng Sour has been approached for comment.

— Ouch Sony

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