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Thursday, 9 June 2011

Workers clash overa woman

NILAI: More than 200 foreign workers from Vietnam and Bangladesh rioted and clashed outside their hostels at a textile factory in Taman Semarak here, yesterday, leaving 23 of them injured and three hospitalised.

The number of those involved could have exceeded 1,000 had the police not stopped a group of Bangladeshis who were on their way to the hostel, armed with metal rods and pieces of wood.

Quick action by 150 policemen and two teams from the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) dispersed the workers and later gathered them into small groups to avoid further clashes.

Deputy state police chief Datuk Abd Manan Mohd Hassan said the incident happened when a Bangladeshi worker tried to get friendly with a Vietnamese woman while working the night shift on Monday.

"However, the woman did not entertain the Bangladeshi man and later complained to her boyfriend, a Vietnamese, who also worked in the factory. 

"Her boyfriend who was upset over the incident later brought several of his friends to beat up the Bangladeshi man, causing tension between the two groups."

The tension boiled over the following night about 9pm, when a small fight broke out at the textile factory in the Nilai Industrial Area, about 2km from the hostel.

The fight eventually spread to the hostel area with more than 200 workers getting involved. 

Tensions continued till about 5am yesterday when police and the FRU brought the situation under control.

Those injured received outpatient treatment, while two Vietnamese and a Bangladeshi were warded at the Seremban Hospital.

"The situation is under control and there is no cause for worry. 

"We will be meeting the employer soon to determine what actually triggered the incident and try to resolve it. 

"The factory will be temporarily closed and we are still searching the hostels for any weapons," he said, adding that no arrests were made.

There are 3,704 foreign workers at the hostel, of which 1,743 are Vietnamese and 1,409 Bangladeshis. The remainder come from several other countries and include Malaysians.

Yesterday's incident is the third such riot at the hostel, with the first one occurring on Jan 17, 2002, where about 500 Indonesians rioted and destroyed police vehicles after one of their friends was detained by police for drug abuse.

On Sept 22, 2003, a group of Indonesian and Vietnamese workers fought after an Indonesian was chased and hit by a drunken group of Vietnamese. 

Six Indonesian workers were injured in the incident.

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