Sacred relics stolen in 2013 but since recovered, including a golden urn said to contain the ashes of the Buddha, will make their way back to their home on Oudong Mountain next month, officials said yesterday.
Ministry of Cults and Religion spokesman Seng Somony said that the government would march the relics back to the stupa on the mountain on May 20, Visak Bochea Day, the holiest day in the Buddhist calendar marking the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha.
After the relics were stolen on December 11, 2013, authorities charged four of the site’s security guards over the disappearance.
However, the relics were later found at the home of a local villager who was subsequently charged along with a gold seller.
While one of the four guards has since died of cancer, the other three remain in pre-trial detention.
Sieng Chamrouen, daughter to one of the three detained guards, Sieng Sarin, yesterday maintained his innocence.
“Now my father is still in the Kandal prison,” said Chamrouen. “They accused my father of stealing it. Until now I don’t believe that my father did it.”