Chhim Sithar knew she would be arrested when she arrived at the site of a protest organised by employees of the NagaWorld casino.
Police violently grabbed and arrested the union leader when she attempted to join the demonstration by striking workers in Phnom Penh on 4 January. Video of the altercation, showing Sithar trying to evade shouting plainclothes officers who swarmed and pushed her into a car, was widely shared on social media.
Sithar was one of 1,329 NagaWorld employees laid off in April during a Covid-19 surge in Cambodia. NagaWorld, which has exclusive rights to operate casinos in Phnom Penh, fired all the union’s leaders and has not given workers their full severance pay, according to the Labour Rights Supported Union of NagaWorld employees (LRSU).