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Cambodian police fire on strikers, killing four

Published on Jan 4, 2014 7:26 AM
Cambodian military police arresting protesters in front of a factory in Phnom Penh yesterday. Thousands of garment workers have taken to the streets, demanding higher wages. -- PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

At least four striking garment workers were killed and 22 injured as military police opened fire in Phnom Penh, in the third and worst day so far of clashes, which followed weeks of protests against the government.

Violence and arson were being reported from the capital's Veng Sreng industrial district until yesterday evening, with one police station reportedly on fire. Security forces blocked roads into the capital to prevent more workers and opposition supporters from joining the protests.

The garment industry employs up to 500,000 people and is an engine of the Cambodian economy, earning around US$5 billion (S$6.3 billion) a year in exports. Unions are striking to demand a higher minimum wage.

Last week, the Ministry of Labour set the minimum monthly wage for the sector this year at US$95 - far less than the unions' demand of US$160. The previous wage was US$80. The unions called a strike.

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