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Risky business: Gem miner killed after day farming

A gem miner was killed on Monday when a hole he and his wife had dug caved in on him, police in Ratanakkiri province said yesterday.

Dy Vy, 32, and his wife, En Sreypov, 30, ethnic Tompuon villagers from Bakeo district, were digging for gems, as they often did after finishing their daily farming work, said district deputy police chief Sing Sok.

According to Sreypov, the couple had dug about 10 metres into the ground before the hole collapsed, trapping her husband, Sok said. She screamed for help, but by the time other villagers arrived and dug out Vy, he had died.

“A traditional funeral was prepared,” Sok said, adding that outsiders were not allowed to attend. “His body was buried in the cemetery.”

Despite warnings from authorities, many unlicensed miners across the country risk their lives mining for gems and gold, some in a bid to strike it rich, others just to make a living.

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