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18 killed when bus hits garment workers’ van in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — At least 18 garment workers were killed and nearly two dozen injured in eastern Cambodia when their van was hit by a speeding bus, prompting a plea from Prime Minister Hun Sen for drivers to slow down to make the country’s roads safer.

“The problem of traffic accidents in our country is getting worse and worse,” said Hun Sen, who was informed of the accident while presiding over a ceremony in the capital. “Everyone needs to respect traffic laws.”

No one was injured on the bus, which was carrying tourists from Vietnam and other passengers, said Chieng Am, a provincial governor.

The bus was speeding to overtake another car when it crashed head-on into the oncoming van, which was driving workers to their factory at an industrial zone in eastern Svay Rieng province, near the border with Vietnam, he said.

The overcrowded van was carrying 39 factory workers and was driving within the speed limit, he said.

The garment industry is Cambodia’s biggest export earner, employing about 700,000 people in more than 700 garment and shoe factories. In 2014, the Southeast Asian country shipped more $5 billion worth of products to the United States and Europe.

Road accidents are a leading cause of death in Cambodia. According to report from Transport Ministry, more 2,000 people were killed in traffic accidents last year.

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