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

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior