Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A simmering feud among Thai and Cambodian factory staff may see a fence built between them

A riot between Thai and Cambodian workers at a processed chicken factory in Nong Yai district has led its executives to float the idea of building a wall and a new walkway to keep the two groups apart.

No decision has yet been reached, but if implemented, it would represent the most radical solution yet to ongoing tensions between the two nationalities.

The problems came to a head on the night of July 10 when about 700 Cambodian workers, aged between 23 and 25, ran riot following a drunken quarrel between a small group of Cambodian and Thai workers.

The Cambodians rioted when police, who stepped into the row, took away two Thai men who allegedly assaulted Cambodian worker Kratphet, 25.

"The riot was unrelated to the Thai-Cambodian political conflict," said Rattika Chintanaphon, personnel manager of GFPT Nichirei (Thailand) Co which runs the factory. "The problem resulted from a misunderstanding."

The factory is nonetheless concerned about a possible repeat of the incident, and is exploring options such as erecting a wall between the workers so they no longer have to come into such close contact.

Ms Rattika said the police merely wanted to end the drunken quarrel. They took the Thai workers out of the factory compound to press charges against them, but the Cambodians thought the police were showing favouritism, she said.

"The Cambodian workers didn't understand Thai laws and culture and we didn't understand them," said Nong Yai police superintendent Sanongdet Detwatcharanon, who was present at the scene. (more)