A seven-storey building under construction to become a hotel collapsed at 5 a.m. local (6 p.m. ET) in the coastal city of Sihanoukville in southwest Cambodia.
Seven people were killed and at least other 21 were seriously injured. Twenty people were rescued but many others were trapped under the rubble. A search and rescue operation was ongoing. Reports vary on the number of people missing. 30 people were feared trapped.The building belonged to a Chinese national, who rented the land from a Cambodian. The seven-storey building was almost 80% complete when it crashed. Four people have been arrested over the collapse, including the Chinese building owner, the head of the construction firm and the contractor. A Cambodian landowner has also been taken in for questioning.
In recent years, Sihanoukville, once a small fishing village, has been transformed by the construction of Chinese hotels and casinos, under Chinese investment in recent years. Cambodia, one of south-east Asia’s poorest countries, has notoriously lax safety laws and labor protections. The International Labor Organization has highlighted the "exposure of workers to constant safety and health hazards" on building sites in this country.
Death toll is rising to 17.