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Chinese detained over gold mine tragedy

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A Chinese man was arrested for the death of three Chinese workers at Preah Vihea gold mine. Supplied

Chinese detained over gold mine tragedy

The Preah Vihear provincial police sent a Chinese national to the provincial court on Wednesday, following his arrest in connection with the death of three workers inside an allegedly illegal gold mine shaft in Rovieng district’s Romtom commune on June 23.

Provincial deputy police chief Chhoy Borin said the 43-year-old suspect was the manager of the mine shaft, and that the workers were also Chinese nationals who worked under the suspect’s supervision.

“We already sent him [the suspect] to the provincial court for further questioning. As soon as we were informed of the accident, the officers went straight to the site and detained the suspect,” Borin told The Post.

Operating without government authorisation, the shaft – measuring about 10m deep – employed five employees in total, he said.

At the time of the incident, Borin noted, the manager ordered three of his subordinates to move soil from the bottom of the shaft to the surface. As there was a shortage of oxygen underground, the workers eventually suffocated to death.

Police arrested another worker but he was immediately released for he had not had any involvement in the death of his colleagues.

Rovieng district deputy police chief Prom Sitha identified the deceased as Wang Zhenran, 32; Gao Dehua, 57, and Zhang Jichun, 46.

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