Owners of collapsed Cambodia building charged over deaths of 36 people

Villagers collecting steel at a building which collapsed and killed 36 people in Kep, Cambodia, on Jan 6, 2020.
Villagers collecting steel at a building which collapsed and killed 36 people in Kep, Cambodia, on Jan 6, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

KEP, CAMBODIA (REUTERS) - Owners of a building in Cambodia that collapsed and killed 36 workers and their families last week have been charged and released on bail, a court spokesman said on Tuesday (Jan 7).

The heavy death toll has highlighted the dangers of the lightly regulated industry. The building, a multi-storey guesthouse under construction in the coastal town of Kep, crashed down on Friday (Jan 3) as labourers and their families, including six children and infants, were relaxing at the site.

The owners of the building, identified as Ek Sarun and his wife Chhiv Sothy, were charged with unintentional homicide and causing injuries, Kampot Provincial Court spokesman Man Boreth told Reuters.

"The court decided not to detain them and they were released," the spokesman said, adding that their bail was set at 354 million Cambodian riels (S$117,290).

Reuters was unable to contact the couple to seek comment from them.

The court spokesman said the couple were required to appear in court when summoned, and were not allowed to leave the country.