The seven-story building was about 80 percent complete when it collapsed. At the time, dozens of workers were sleeping inside. 24 people made it out of the wreckage injured but alive. It’s not clear how many more remain missing, buried in the debris.
Built without proper permits
According to local officials, the building’s construction was carried out without government approval. Twice, authorities had tried to stop the construction but the Chinese owner, Chen Kun, refused to cooperate.
Chen has now been arrested, along with two other Chinese nationals, Deng Xing Gui, a building contractor, and Gao Yu, a concrete contractor.
The Chinese embassy in Phnom Penh has expressed its condolences over the incident and pledged to carry out a thorough investigation into the cause of the collapse and the role played by the three Chinese citizens involved.
When Chinese money and lax laws collide
Located on the Gulf of Thailand, the seaside fishing village of Sihanoukville has recently become a boomtown thanks mostly to money from Chinese tourists, investors, and gamblers.
With money to be made, new hotels and casinos are rising up around the town with considerable speed. Meanwhile, Cambodia is a country infamous for lax labor laws and safety standards.
The country’s long-time prime minister, Hun Sen, paid a visit to the disaster area on Monday.
He announced that the Deputy Director of the National Committee for Disaster Management had been sacked for “lying” and “lacking responsibility,” and that the provincial governor of Sihanoukville had resigned.
Hun Sen also said that he was established a special committee tasked with overseeing the quality of Chinese building projects in the town.