Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Convicted ‘relic thief’ dies of cancer: official



Convicted ‘relic thief’ dies of cancer: official

Convicted ‘relic thief’ dies of cancer: official

A chief security guard convicted in absentia last month of stealing a golden urn said to hold the Buddha’s remains died in hospital on Saturday evening where he was being treated for liver cancer, according to prison staff.

Chat Sineang, director of Kandal Provincial Prison, said 60-year-old Pha Sokhem passed away in Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital having lost a months-long battle with the chronic illness.

“He had liver cancer for months. We sent him to Chey Chomnas Hospital for treatment. Then, he got better and we took him back to the prison.

After that, he was sent to Chey Chumneas Hospital again, and then Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, and then Calmette Hospital.”

Sokhem’s body has been sent to his family in Kandal’s Prek Pnov commune where they are preparing a traditional funeral, according to Sineang.

Sokhem was one of five men handed a seven-year prison sentence last month for stealing the urn, which is said to hold the hair, teeth and bones of the Buddha, from a stupa on Oudong Mountain in December 2013.

One of those sentenced, 24-year-old farmer Keo Reaksmey, has confessed to the theft and insisted he acted alone.

Sokhem and three other security guards convicted maintained their innocence throughout the trial, saying they were guilty only of “negligence”.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • PM asks India for vaccine help

    Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year. The request was made during his meeting with

  • Cambodia, India agree to start direct flights, tourism exchanges

    Cambodia and India have agreed to start direct flight connections and promote closer tourism exchanges and cooperation in all areas after the Covid-19 saga comes to a close. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon and newly-minted Indian

  • Plastic-to-rice initiative transforms waste into bricks

    Volunteers in Kampong Khlaing commune of Siem Reap province’s Sotr Nikum district have been collecting plastic waste to use as a raw material for the production of bricks and clemence tiles. The volunteers are hoping that, in addition to helping clean up the environment,