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We seek justice for Cambodian garment workers shot at Puma supplier factory 

2013-05-18 - CLEC


On Monday February 20, 2012, an unidentified male shot three female factory workers while a protest was taking place in front of the Kaoway factory in the Manhatten Special Economic Zone (MSEZ) of Bavet District, Svay Rieng Province, Cambodia. The main purchaser from the Kaoway factory was, and still is, Puma SE, the German based athletic shoe company. The unidentified male was later recognized to be the Bavet town governor, Chhouk Bandith. Even after admitting to the authorities that he was the shooter, Chhouk Bandith’s arrest was first delayed, and then the Court of First Instance promptly dropped the charges.

Shortly after, the victims appealed, which resulted in a decision to send the case back to the Svay Rieng Court of First Instance, stating that there is enough evidence for Bandith to stand trial. Furthermore, public pressure has culminated in the government removing the former government from power; a move endorsed by human rights advocates, community members throughout Cambodia, and the international community. The new trial date is set for May 21, 2013.

Prior to the appeal, Puma did not publicly acknowledge any financial responsibility for the injured women nor were they involved in the initial negotiations over the contracts between the factory owners and workers. To date, Puma has covered the medical costs of the three injured women, supported and endorsed the pay raise demanded by the workers, and shown a greater interest in the overall conditions within Kaoway Factory. However, the factory workers and victims continue to demand that justice is served, which will not be complete until Chhouk Bandith is convicted of his crime. 

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