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Gold fever infects Preah Vihear

Authorities in Preah Vihear province have banned locals from prospecting for gold along a new road leading up to Preah Vihear temple, after hundreds of fortune-seeking villagers halted work on the road for three days.

Officials said the gold fever was sparked when the road works turned up red rocks which villagers believed contained gold dust.

“We stopped people from looking for gold because they caused the road construction to stop, and construction could not happen for three days,” Om Phirom, heritage police chief at the Preah Vihear National Authority, said today.

“They thought it was gold ore but actually it was just mercury,” Om Phirom added.

“We have told them not to look for gold again, since they have blocked the road construction.”

Yim Phim, commander of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Brigade 43, said today that the crowds had been dispersed.

“There are no more people looking for gold at the road construction site,” he said.

“I don’t know if it was gold or not, but I was told they could sell it for $20 for one kilogramme.”

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