A Cambodian court sentenced a former governor in absentia to 18 months in prison for shooting three female workers at a factory supplying sportswear giant Puma, a judge said yesterday. The women, employees of Puma supplier Kaoway Sports, were wounded when someone opened fire on protesters demanding better working conditions at factories in eastern Svay Rieng province in February 2012. Chhuk Bundith, who was removed from his post of governor of Bavet City after the shooting, was sentenced to 18 months in jail after the court found him "guilty" of causing unintentional injuries by shooting, according to judge Leang Sour at Svay Rieng provincial court. The judge also ordered Bundith to pay a total of US$9,500 to the three victims in compensation and issued a warrant for his arrest. The victims welcomed the ruling and urged that Bundith be arrested as soon as possible. "I am glad with the court's decision. It provides justice to the three of us," said Nuth Sakhorn, 24, who was shot in her back and one of her arms. But rights groups said the sentence was too lenient and Bundith should have been charged with attempted murder. Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said "justice has not yet [been] provided to the victims". Critics say Cambodia's legal system is in thrall to powerful and wealthy interests, leaving the country without proper rule of law. The textile industry employs about 650,000 people and is a key source of foreign income for the impoverished nation.