Governor Resigns as Building Collapse Death Toll Climbs

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Scene of collapsed building in Sihanouk province. VOD/Chorn Chanren
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UPDATE (5 p.m.) — Rescue teams discovered two more survivors and two dead bodies in the wreckage of a collapsed building in Sihanoukville this afternoon.

The death toll from the building collapse, which happened on Saturday morning, has now reached 28, with 26 others injured.

Earlier, a provincial governor and senior minister were removed from their posts in the wake of the deadly incident.

Preah Sihanouk governor Yun Min resigned from his position, while National Committee for Disaster Management first vice president Nhim Vanda was removed, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“His Excellency Yun Min, Preah Sihanouk governor, accepted that he made mistakes in managing his jurisdiction and allowed the incident to happen,” Hun Sen wrote on his Facebook page.

Kompong Cham provincial governor Kouch Chamroeun will take Min’s place and former Royal Cambodian Armed Forces chief of staff Kun Kim — a close ally of the premier — would replace Vanda, he added.

However, Vanda would remain a senior minister and also serve as a government adviser, a royal decree issued today said.

Rescuers continued their work at the site on Monday — two days after the seven-story building caved in, destroying neighboring houses and leaving a wreckage of broken walls, floors and beams.

Provincial officials said this morning that about 75 percent of the debris had been cleared as teams searched the rubble for bodies.

Police arrested five people, including four Chinese, over the incident and said the building, which was still under construction, had no permit. The Land Ministry said it had told them to halt construction twice already.

The four arrested Chinese suspects were Chen Kun, the owner of the building; Deng Xing Gul, the owner of the construction company; Gao Yu, the plastering contractor; and a woman who remained unidentified as of this afternoon. The four were sent to the provincial court for processing.

Authorities also arrested a Cambodian man, Nhek Huy, who leased the land to the developers to build a hotel, but later released him.

(Translated and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer)

Story and headline updated at 5 p.m. The original headline was “Governor Resigns as Collapsed Building Death Toll Hits 25

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