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Eight arrested for buried treasure scheme

Two Cambodians and six Vietnamese were arrested on Saturday after attempting to dig up a buried box of gold near Battambang Provincial Hall, some three decades after its alleged owner claimed to have left it while stationed in Cambodia.

According to a police report, the Cambodians were identified as Lim Hok Hai, 36, and Meas Sopheap, 55. The six Vietnamese were identified as Rok Hoy, 57, Kou Sonam, 33, Vieng Chin Hok, 22, Rieng Van Ngieng, 24, Troeng Van Vy, 37, and Vieng Thidan, 40.

Hoy, a former soldier, told police he had buried the box near the lion statue in Battambang when posted as a soldier in Cambodia in the 1980s, following the fall of the Khmer Rouge. He said he hired the Cambodians to drive them frp, the Vietnamese border in order to dig up the long lost treasure.

Mean Lai, Battambang penal police chief, said when police saw the accused digging near the statue on Saturday, they tried to arrest them but failed when the Vietnamese hopped in their getaway car driven by Hok Hai and Sopheap.

“They were digging illegally to steal state treasure,” Lai said, adding that police were waiting for a court warrant before continuing where the group left off.

The police called for back-up and roadblocks, eventually arresting the eight in Mong Russey district.

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