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

  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • Cambodia nabs 12th place in best retirement destinations

    Cambodia is an expatriate hotspot for those dreaming of living a more luxurious lifestyle at an affordable cost, according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019. For the fourth year in a row, Cambodia took the top spot in the Cost of Living category.

  • EU starts EBA withdrawal

    The EU on Monday announced that it has begun the 18-month process of withdrawing the Kingdom’s access to its preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement over “a deterioration of democracy [and] respect for human rights”. However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said

  • PM: War result of foreign meddling

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday that Cambodia’s recent history of conflict was caused by foreign interference. “The wars that happened were caused by provocation, incitement, support, smearing and interference from foreign powers, and the group of ignorant people who pushed Cambodia to