Police in Battambang province’s Banan district and forensic specialists on February 20 inspected a human skeleton in Chhoung Svay Cave in Ta Kriem commune’s Ta Ngen village after villagers had found the remains and reported the discovery the day prior.
District police chief Pann Vanny said two villagers reported finding the skeleton – which had its hands tied behind its back – in the cave while they were collecting bat droppings.
He identified the two villagers as Ruom Vutha, 29, and Boeun Nal, 34, noth of them lived in Ta Ngen village.
“They spotted the skeleton while collecting bat droppings to make fertiliser for sale,” Vanny said.
Vanny said the cave was about 20m deep and the police retrieved the skeleton with the help of the locals.
He said after examinations that the remains were those of a man aged around 50 years old. He was wearing a gray long sleeved shirt and black trousers and his hands had been tied with red nylon rope. His pockets contained old fashioned tobacco leaves.
Vanny said the skeleton was almost completely decomposed, which according to the forensic police meant that the man probably died during the Khmer Rouge era, possibly during the construction of the Kamping Puoy dam.
“After the inspection, it was determined that the man probably passed away close to 1975. Even the bag he kept his tobacco in had rotted almost completely away,” he said.
He said that after the examination was complete, the police handed the skeleton to the chief monk of the Dambok Khpos pagoda in Ta Ngen commune to be packed in a traditional ossuary.