An emergency committee has been created to quell hundreds of villagers in Pursat this week following rumours of treasure left behind by the Pol Pot regime being buried in the area.
Khoy Sokha, Pursat provincial governor, said local authorities urgently established the committee on Tuesday in order to prevent further turmoil caused by fighting and illegal digging following the rumour spreading through the community.
“It is an illegal action. They do not have permission from the authorities [to dig], yet they come to dig this area. Officials had to stop them immediately,” he said.
Khoy Sokha added that the committee has yet to determine if there is buried treasure in the area.
“We created this committee because if the authorities found buried treasure, it would be kept as state treasure and no one would own it.
“We told the people they must not fight or illegally dig for it,” he said.
Some of them continue to dig without eating rice or drinking water.
The diggers include people from Pursat and other provinces, who reportedly entered a state of hysteria on Monday after they heard that hundreds of kilogrammes of gold was buried near Roleab commune, Sampov Meas district.
“On Tuesday, authorities began digging at the site and continued until Wednesday morning,” Khoy Sokha said.
“This committee will stop all of the unclear information [spreading] amongst the people. The authority had difficulty trying to control the situation when people gathered to dig, but now we are able to control it,
Sor Sarum, Roleab commune chief, said that the area was under control and “the people do not dare to dig it”.
Nget Theavy, a coordinator of Pursat provincial Adhoc, said she was aware of the situation in Roleab.
“The people were hysterical, but they found nothing.
“They heard [the news] from one person to another person, so they gathered and started digging. Some of them continued to dig without eating rice or drinking water,” she added.