|The body of Sim Srey Touch is surrounded by family and community members in her home after being crushed by falling metal and concrete at the Wing Star Shoes factory accident in Kampong Speu today. Photograph: Shane Worrell/Phnom Penh Post|
16 May 2013
By May Titthara and Shane Worrell
The Phnom Penh Post
Three family members of a garment worker who was killed this morning when a mezzanine at the Wing Star Shoes Co., Ltd factory collapsed on her have said she was only 15 years old.
Sim Srey Touch was crushed by falling metal and concrete in an accident that government officials and Wing Star Shoes have said killed two workers.
Srey Touch, family members said, had worked at the factory only two weeks.
Three of Sim Srey Touch’s sisters also work at Wing Star, including 23-year-old Yim Pay, who said she watched police carry out her 15-year-old sister’s body.
“I was working in another building and heard a thunderous sound and ran to see what was happening,” the 23-year-old said.
“I came out and saw the police carrying my sister and I went into shock.”
Srey Touch’s mother, Noun Nget, told reporters her daughter was 15 and had lied about her age to get a job at Wing Star Shoe.
“She began working there on May 2 and did not yet get a salary. I do not want compensation from the factory – I want to see my daughter survive,” she said.
“My daughter used a fake document that said she was 22 or 23 to get work,” she said.
When asked again later, she said her daughter was “22 or 23”.
Two other families members huddled around the Srey Touch’s body at the family home in Kong Pisei district’s Prey Vihear commune also said she was 15.
Chea Sothavirith, administration director at Wing Star Shoes, said he could not comment on the girl’s age or whether the family’s of the victims would be paid compensation.
“As far as I know now, there are two died, 11 injured, so I can’t say more and we will have meeting this afternoon with the authorities about what to do with the families,” he said.
During a press conference at the scene earlier this morning, Ith Sam Heng, Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, pledged that the government would provide compensation to victims.
He also said three people had died, but later contacted reporters to say he had made a mistake.
Seven workers who were taken to Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh have all since been moved from the emergency department.
Staff said three more workers were being transferred to Calmette from Kampong Speu.
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