SINGAPORE — A Cambodian court has convicted a man alleged to have shot three female employees at a factory that produces for German sports label Puma.
The provincial court on Tuesday sentenced Chhouk Bandith, a former town governor, to 18 months in prison and ordered him to pay his victims a total of 38 million riels, or $9,268 at current exchange, as compensation.
Bandith was found guilty of causing unintentional injury when he discharged a firearm during a protest outside Taiwanese-owned Kaoway Sports Ltd. in February 2012. One of the workers was critically wounded, and though all three have since recovered, they still require constant medical attention and cannot work overtime, which is a key source of supplementary income for Cambodian industry employees, labor rights advocates in the country said.
The case had been plagued with irregularities that led some to question the Southeast Asian kingdom’s judicial system. The provincial court had originally dropped the charges before taking them up again on order of an appeal court. Bandith had also failed to appear in court during the duration of the trial, citing technical issues with his summons, local media reported. An arrest and detention order has since been issued for the official, who was not immediately taken into custody.
In a statement released after charges were initially dropped last December, Puma said that it would work with local organizations to “assess how the company can provide help in kind to the three women affected by the random shooting to alleviate their situation.” The three women remain employed at the same factory.