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Dozens honour slain Free Trade Union leader

Taing Vida / Khmer Times Share:
unionists, garment workers and members of civil society marked the 15-year anniversary of Chea Vichea’s death. KT/ Mai Vireak

Dozens of unionists, garment workers and members of civil society marked the 15-year anniversary of former Free Trade Union leader Chea Vichea’s death today by holding a religious ceremony and urging police to speed up an investigation into his murder.


Friends, family and peers gathered just metres away from where Mr Vichea was slain almost two decades ago. Attendees held a Buddhist ceremony and gave speeches honouring the former Free Trade Union leader.

Cambodian Confederation of Unions president Rong Chhun said Mr Vichea was a hero to many garment workers and that his deeds were never forgotten.

Mr Chhun said Mr Vichea deserves justice, and the government has shown no interest in finding out who the real killer is.

“It has been 15 years, but we cannot see a single shed of light of justice for Mr Vichea,” he said. “As a union leader, I never forget his sacrifice for garment workers. I feel disappointed to know the authorities have no real intent on arresting the real killer.”

Cambodian Labour Confederation president Ath Thorn said Mr Hun Sen called for investigations into the deaths of Mr Vichea and other activists such as Hy Vuthy and Ros Sovannareth.

However, despite the call from the country’s top leader, no justice has been provided, Mr Thorn added.

“I hope Cambodian authorities can speed up the investigation and identify the real killer so that there will be justice for those who lost Mr Vichea,” he said. “Without proper investigation, even current union leaders fear exercising their rights.”

On January 22, 2004, Mr Vichea was shot dead in broad daylight at a news stand in front of the Wat Langka pagoda in Phnom Penh. Witnesses at the time said they saw two men on a motorbike committed the crime.

Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun were arrested for the killing, but a judge dismissed the case that same year.

Full story in Wednesday’s paper

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