Group Accused of Relics Theft to Be Questioned

The Kandal Provincial Court on Tuesday will question five prisoners who have protested their innocence in the December theft of ancient Buddhist relics from Odong mountain, alongside a suspect who confessed to the crime, a court official said Tuesday.

“We will punish only the people involved with stealing the Buddhist relics,” said Investigating Judge Lim Sokuntha.

“If the people are not involved with it, they will be acquitted.”

In February, two months after the arrests of three Odong mountain security guards, the security chief and a motorcycle taxi driver, Keo Reaksmey, a Takeo farmer was arrested and charged with the theft. The 2,500-year-old relics and several ornate statues were found in his kitchen.

Although Mr. Reaksmey was caught with the relics and confessed to the crime, the court has been slow to question and release the group of five.

Pha Sodina, the son of security chief Pha Sokhem, urged the court to drop the charges.

“I still believe that my father did not commit the crime as charged. I request the court to please acquit him,” he said.

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