Three dead in roof collapse at Cambodian factory making shoes for the West

Rescue workers and soldiers search through a site of the accident in a shoe factory in the Kong Pisei district of Kampong Speu province, 50 km (30 miles) west of the capital, Phnom Penh May 16, 2013.
Rescue workers and soldiers search through a site of the accident in a shoe factory in the Kong Pisei district of Kampong Speu province Thursday.

Three people were killed when the ceiling of a warehouse caved in at a shoe factory in Cambodia, a government minister said, adding to concern about safety standards at Asian factories producing clothes cheaply for Western consumers.

Cambodia has seen a rush of investment in recent years, especially into the shoe and garment sector, with Western and Asian firms attracted by its low-cost labor. The International Monetary Fund says garments account for about 80 percent of the Southeast Asian country’s exports.

Ith Sam Heng, minister of social affairs, told Reuters another six people had been injured in the incident at the plant in the Kong Pisei district of Kampong Speu province, 30 miles west of the capital, Phnom Penh.

“We will investigate the case and we will take measures against those involved,” he said, meaning anyone who might be held responsible for poor safety standards.

He said no one remained trapped inside the building.

Earlier, a trade union member at the factory had said six people had died in the collapse, which happened at around 8 p.m. EDT. The shoe factory, owned by Wing Star Shoes Co Ltd, a Taiwanese company, employs about 7,000 people, but only about 100 worked in the single-story warehouse, according to staff.

Work at the plant stopped after the accident.

A Reuters reporter saw footwear bearing the name “Asics” scattered around the damaged warehouse, where a bulldozer was clearing away rubble.

A spokeswoman for Japanese sportswear maker Asics Corp said the factory made running shoes for it. “Our prayers go out to the families of those who have died,” she said.

Asics relies on sports shoes for about two-thirds of its sales, which amounted to 57.33 billion yen ($560 million) company-wide in the year to March 31, 2013.

Poor conditions

A series of deadly incidents at factories in Bangladesh, the world’s biggest exporter of clothing after China, has focused global attention on safety standards in the booming garment industry there.

An eight-story complex of factories housing garment manufacturers collapsed in Bangladesh on April 24, killing more than 1,100 people. That has sparked campaigns in the West to improve safety conditions at plants in the country supplying Western brand names.

Strikes over pay and poor working conditions are common in the sector in Cambodia, also home to numerous factories producing clothing cheaply for Western retailers.

Ngeth Phat, 29, who was among those rescued on Thursday, said Wing Star had been open for little more than a year but there had already been two strikes by workers over poor working conditions and low wages she put at $80 a month.

“After I got into work, bits of brick dropped on me, and about 10 minutes later the whole ceiling collapsed. It was completely dark and I was under other people,” she told Reuters from a hospital bed in Phnom Penh.

Ou Sam Oun, the governor of Kampong Speu province, said the factory would provide compensation of $5,000 to the families of the people who had died and $1,000 each to workers who were injured.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

Television

Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

GAMES Hudson Common Open Aug. 21, 7 p.m. Hudson Common 356 W. 58 St. Free, www.hudsoncommonnyc.com The U.S. Open begins on Monday, but most of…

Movies

Review: Sadly, Matthew Weiner's 'Are You Here' is…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner tries his hand at movies with "Are You Here," a misjudged Owen Wilson-Zach Galifianakis comedy that turns into a drama.

Movies

Review: 'Love is Strange' is not only a…

John Lithgow and Alfred Molina tie the knot in "Love is Strange," but the film winds up being more about living with people than an activist picture.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…