14 Apr 2003

Stranded Chinese workers in court after Palau restaurant barricade

4:46 pm on 14 April 2003

The Palau court will today process over 200 Chinese factory workers who are under house arrest after being dragged out of a restaurant where they had barricaded themselves in for 20 hours.

The workers have been stranded on Palau since January after their employers, the Taiwanese operators of Orientex Palau, fled the island because of a coming liquidation action.

In frustration, the workers had gone to the Crystal Palace restaurant because they believed the owner of the establishment was responsible for their current plight.

The workers' lawyer, Moses Uludong, says Orientex never gave his clients their contract guaranteed tickets home and they are owed more than $US600,000 dollars in unpaid wages.

Mr Uludong says restaurant owner Frank Ho is not the party responsible, but confirmed disturbing scenes of police dragging the workers, mostly women, from the establishment.

The workers, put under house arrest in the factory barracks, face several criminal charges, including disturbing the peace, trespassing, obstruction of justice and rioting.