NILAI: The near riot involving some 200 foreign workers at Recron (M) Sdn Bhd was believed to have been sparked by the assault of a Bangladeshi worker who had made a pass at a female Vietnamese worker early Monday.
State deputy police chief Datuk Abd Manan Mohd Hasan said the Bangladeshi was assaulted by some Vietnamese workers later that night.
“At 9pm on Tuesday, the Bangladeshi workers at the factory, numbering some 1,400, retaliated against the 1,740 Vietnamese working there,” he said.
The management quickly notified the police, who swung into action to prevent bloodshed as several hundred workers were armed with pieces of wood and iron rods.
Around 200 men, including 120 Federal Reserve Unit personnel were despatched to the scene to quell the fracas.
At the height of the incident, police had to escort 500 Bangladeshi workers back to their hostel 2km away.
Several hundred Vietnamese were also forced to return to their hostel and those who were still there were not allowed to leave.
When the fracas ended eight hours later, three workers had to be admitted to the Tuanku Ja’afar Hospital while 20 others received outpatient treatment.
Recron, previously known as Hualon Corporation, is now a 100% owned subsidiary of India’s Reliance Industries and has a total of 3,700 employees at its plant here.
Abd Manan said the management was advised yesterday to stop operations temporarily to ease tensions between both groups.
“We need the workers to be at their hostels for our probe,” he said, adding that only 200 workers from both countries were actually involved in the incident on Tuesday.
The others, he said, came to support their countrymen.
Abd Manan said police have maintained a strong presence at the factory and the hostels to prevent any untoward incident but could not say how long his men would be stationed there.
“The situation is very much under control now.
“We also want to know whether there were other reasons that had aggravated the situation,” he said.
Abd Manan, who said that both the Bangladesh and Vietnam missions here had been informed about the incident, denied police had fired warning shots to disperse the workers who had been taunting each other.
Abd Manan also urged the locals not to worry about their safety.
“We will make regular rounds here to ensure there is no recurrence,” he said. - theStarOnline