Three shot at Cambodian factory protest in Svay Rieng

Workers protesting outside a factory in Cambodia
Image caption Garment factory workers in Cambodia have gone on strike in recent months, demanding higher pay

At least three workers have been shot and hurt in a protest at an industrial zone in Cambodia.

Several hundred employees were demonstrating outside sportswear factories in Svay Rieng province, in the east of the country.

The workers were calling for higher wages and better working conditions.

Police deny they shot anyone, but admitted they fired warning shots in the air as protesters burned tyres and threw stones at the factories.

The police say a gunman drove up to the workers and opened fire. They say that the wanted man has fled the scene and they are investigating the incident.

Striking workers told the AP news agency that the gunman was a factory security guard.

Cambodian human rights group Licadho said that the victims were aged 18, 21 and 23. One of those shot received a chest wound and was seriously injured, it said.

Workers at the Kaoway Sports Ltd factory have been on strike since Friday. The Phnom Penh Post newspaper said that the factory is Taiwanese-owned and makes footwear for Germany's Puma brand.

Commerce Ministry statistics show that most of its production is shipped to Europe, especially Germany and Italy.

The clothing industry is one of Cambodia's biggest sources of foreign income, employing more than 300,000 people - most of whom are women.

Licadho last month said security forces and private armed guards were increasing using force against protesters.

The group said they had opened fire on people protesting against land grabs at least five incidents over the last two months.

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