Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Officials name suspects in illegal mine operation



Officials name suspects in illegal mine operation

Officials inspect a mine shaft in Kratie’s Sambor district, where a shaft collapsed in August, killing miners. Photo supplied
Officials inspect a mine shaft in Kratie’s Sambor district, where a shaft collapsed in August, killing miners. Photo supplied

Officials name suspects in illegal mine operation

Local authorities allege that a former Khmer Rouge soldier and his wife are behind the attempts to operate an unregistered gold mine near the site of a fatal mineshaft collapse in Kratie, but officials have not taken action yet.

Authorities identified two suspects – O’por village resident Kim Sarakea, and his wife, Sou Pharon – for leading a group of undocumented Vietnamese nationals to work in an unauthorised gold mine in Sambor district, according to Sok Kiriroth, director of the provincial Department of Mines and Energy. Kiriroth said yesterday that they received the tip from a cook who was detained for questioning last week.

O’por Village Chief Sok Yoeun said Sarakea allegedly led the group of undocumented workers to explore 5 hectares of land for mining potential, about 2 kilometres away from the site of a mine collapse that killed four workers in August.

The new mine site came to light last week after officials discovered at least 10 migrants from Kampong Thom province exploring the same shaft where the fatal collapse occurred. A separate collapse occurred in September.

The village chief said he could not take action against the mine because he was unaware of it until last week and was not authorised to shut it down.

Provincial Deputy Prosecutor Chea Sopheak said he had been to the site, but he has been unable to summon the alleged operators because he had yet to receive proper documentation from police.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia's cluster cases jump to 259

    The Ministry of Health on February 27 recorded 26 more cases of Covid-19 linked to the February 20 community transmission, bringing the total to 259 in one week. The 26 include three Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. The ministry noted that five of the Chinese