Battambang military police yesterday released five men who were arrested in connection with an illegal gold and gem mining operation in Battambang’s Samlot district.
The five suspects were arrested on Sunday after provincial military police raided their house in Samlot commune’s Kontout village and confiscated a machine used for mining, as well as several tubs and baskets.
They were being detained at the provincial military police headquarters and were being questioned on the identity and whereabouts of the financial backer of the operation.
But Provincial Military Police Commander Por Vannak said the suspects were released yesterday without charges being laid.
“They do not know who their boss is, so how can we find him and make him responsible?” he said. “We just educated them and made an agreement that they have to stop mining gold and gems before we released them.”
He said the men were from Battambang, Kampong Thom and Kampong Cham provinces.
“We couldn’t keep them here because we do not have rice for them to eat,” he said.