South Korea Urged Cambodia’s Military to Crack Down on Protesters

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 SEOUL, South Korea and PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Conspiracy theorists frequently accuse rich countries of “puppeteering” in the developing world, quietly pushing governments to deploy thugs to protect wealthy — and sometime abusive-corporations.

There is truth to this, but it's rare to uncover on-the-ground examples of how this string-pulling works.

Cambodia's current conflict over garment wages provides one such example, GlobalPost has learned.

In recent months, the impoverished Southeast Asian country has been enmeshed in a series of strikes involving garment workers who stitch clothes for Western brands. Workers are demanding a doubling of the minimum wage, saying they can’t live on their current $80 monthly income.

Late last week the government responded with a violent crackdown. Elite units wielding Chinese-made weapons, batons, and steel pipes chased protesters through the streets. Five were killed and dozens were injured. Read more here.